Twenty years ago a then-17-year-old Craig Dixon was "over the moon" after hearing he would be given a once in a lifetime opportunity to carry the Olympic torch - but he wasn't the organisers' original pick.
At the time he had just returned from competing in track and field in the United States, and was being scouted by the Canberra Raiders as a possible future recruit.
Despite being nominated by his aunty and Djiringanj and Ngarigo Elder Colleen Dixon, the now 37-year-old was not selected by the games' organising committee to take part in the torch relay.
But then-Tantawangalo resident Chris Allen had heard a number of young Indigenous star athletes had been overlooked by officials, and with a possible boycott of the event on the cards, he handed his Candelo leg of the relay to the teenager.
"I was pretty stoked that Chris did that. I was over the moon, I really respected the guy for doing it," Mr Dixon said from his home in Jindabyne.
"I remember he came and had a yarn with me, and told me he would give it up for me, which was really great."
Ms Dixon said it was a "very emotional" moment for the family, who has a strong legacy in the sporting world.
"It was very exciting to see a young Indigenous person involved in sport get an opportunity to be involved," she said.
Mr Allen said he and close friend and City2Surf running mate Kevin Slater had both applied to be torchbearers, and after being selected Mr Allen, a long-time forest conservationist, had initially wanted to use the opportunity to raise awareness around the protection of koalas.
He said he read about the potential boycott by traditional custodians, and put aside his plan to wear a koala suit to draw attention to his conservation work after contacting the local community.
"I had complete solidarity with Aboriginal people and their right to take part," he said.
"Watching [the relay] alongside Craig's family was one of the most special moments of my life, to feel how proud they were. It was absolutely the right thing to do."
Official approval for the switch was only received days before the torch was due in the region, and Mr Dixon said he "felt like a bit of a superstar" as he took centre stage during his run through the town as family, friends and teachers watched on.
Mr Allen said organisers had expressed resistance to Mr Dixon's inclusion in the relay, which he said had the backing of the wider community following strong advocacy from Elders.
The story received lots of media attention at the time, but Mr Dixon said these days "not many people know the story".
"It was a long time ago now," he said.
Mr Dixon still has the torch, and still fits his official torchbearer kit, which he said after the relay he never wanted to take off.
"Every now and again I get the torch out of the box I keep it in at home and try to light it up," he said.