15th September 2000 (Opening Ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympic Games)
13 Years ago today, the first games on the millennium had officially started.
Sydney was only the second Olympic Games held in Australia and in the Southern Hemisphere after Melbourne 1956. Sydney was also the second Millennium games, and boasted the celebration of 100 years of women’s participation in sport in the Olympics. Sydney was also the first Olympics to include sports such as Women’s Pole Vault (in fact women’s pole vault wasn’t even in the Athletics World Championships until 1992) and Trampoline sports, which both remain in the Olympic Games today.
Before the games began (and during) Sydney’s small and only international airport had trouble accommodating for the massive influx of planes coming from all over the world. In fact many planes had to circle around the city for hours before landing as there was no where for the planes to park and unload. Sydney international terminal had to run like clock-work for the duration of the games, with planes coming at very early hours in the morning (1am, 2:30am). Something that didn’t occur usually in Sydney due to lack of facilities to transport passengers and due to closing times of most motels being 10-11pm.
According to reviews Sydney had one of the best opening ceremonies in history, focussing on the importance of the stock horse in Australia’s history and Australia’s indigenous culture.
The Sydney 2000 Olympic Games broke records with 199 nations participating with 80 nations medaling.
Finishing off Sydney’s beautiful opening ceremony and celebrating 100 years of Women’s participation in the Olympic Games great female Australian Olympic champions including; Betty Cuthbert, Raelene Boyle, Dawn Fraser, Shirley Strickland, Shane Gould and Debbie Flintoff-King brought the torch through the stadium, handing it over to Cathy Freeman, who lit the flame in the cauldron within a circle of fire. However, the cauldron was famously delayed, flaming it hung just inches above world champion Cathy Freeman’s head for around 4 minutes due to a technical glitch. The ceremony ended with a fantastic fireworks display, officially opening the Olympic Games.
Not only was Sydney a historic games. It was also a beautiful one. Set in the beautiful city of Sydney, had an amazing and symbolic logo. The blue (blue refering to the harbour) wave is symbolic of the Sydney Opera House and the ‘running man’ was made up of 3 boomerangs, relaying the Olympic torch. The yellow represents Australia’s sun and beaches and the red represents Australia’s indigenous culture. The mascots were a clever idea too. Representing Australia’s unique fauna; the platypus, echidna and a kookaburra. Their names ‘Syd’ (Sydney), ‘Millie’ (Millennium), ‘Ollie’ (Olympics). Sydney also had the some of the nicest volunteer uniforms, and medal designs.
The people of the world 13 years in the past may not have known about the history about to unfold before their eyes, but I can assure they will have an amazing experience witnessing one of the greatest Olympic Games of all time.
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