GRACE Weir was a two-year-old standing on the side of the Pacific Highway clutching a paper torch when the Sydney Olympic torch relay passed her Belmont home 14 years ago.
She barely remembers it, but a photo of her with mum Merrin captures the joy of Australians at that memorable time.
Some of that magic was rekindled on Friday when the International Children’s Games torch relay made its way through the Lake Macquarie area to mark 50 days to go.
Children from 26 Hunter schools took part in the torch relay from Lions Park at Warners Bay to Speers Point Park.
Starting on December 6, about 1600 children and more than 4000 supporters from 30 countries will be in Lake Macquarie to compete in the 48th games event - the first in the southern hemisphere.
The Olympic-sanctioned event, hosted by Lake Macquarie Council, will see children aged 12 to 15 competing in athletics, gymnastics, BMX, swimming, golf, sailing, football and water polo over six days.
Grace Weir won a gold medal in the 4 x 100 metre track and field event and bronze in the high jump at the 2013 event in Canada.
The Whitebridge High School student also competed at the 2012 games in South Korea.
Mrs Weir was slightly stunned to realise the Sydney Olympics were 14 years ago because the memories of that time were so fresh, but said the photo of baby Grace watching the torch relay was a particularly fond memory.
‘‘It’s funny to see her holding the torch all those years ago, and now she’s running with the torch today,’’ Mrs Weir said.
‘‘It’s so exciting for the children that these games are being held here, because it is a fantastic event.
‘‘It’s not just about competition. It’s about making friends. It’s such a big event, and I think it will widen the knowledge of people here about children from other cultures and countries.’’
Grace was a keen Little Athletics competitor from the age of five.