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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2002  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/01/2002   
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A LOOK BACK AT THE SYDNEY OLYMPICS AND PARALYMPICS

The Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, in the words of IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch, were "the best games ever". Held in Sydney from 15 September until 1 October 2000, the Games were a spectacular success. Performances at the Opening and Closing Ceremonies celebrated Australia's history and culture. The games were declared open by the Governor General of Australia, Sir William Deane; the flame was lit by Indigenous Australian athlete Cathy Freeman; the Olympic Oath was spoken by triple gold medallist and Hockeyroo Rechelle Hawkes; and the Officials' oath was pronounced by water polo official Peter Kerr. In a symbol of the power of the Olympic Movement, South and North Korea marched together under one flag in the Opening Ceremony, and four athletes from the newly independent nation of East Timor took part under the Olympic flag.

In all some 10,651 athletes (4,069 females and 6,582 males) from 199 nations competed in 28 sports and 300 events. The 2000 Australian team was the largest to ever represent Australia in Olympic competition; 629 athletes competed in Sydney, surpassing the 424 who competed at the Atlanta Games in 1996. The participation of the Olympic athletes of all nations was supported enthusiastically by packed audiences at every event, appreciating their sportsmanship and spirited competitiveness.


Tickets, visitors and viewers

The Sydney Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (SOCOG) sold 92.7% of the 5.7 million tickets allocated, with a value of $780m. The efforts of the 47,000 volunteers who supported the Games were widely praised. During the games, Sydney hosted 362,000 domestic and 110,000 international visitors. The global television audience for the Games was estimated to be 4 billion people, watching over 36 billion viewer hours. Within Australia, more than 10 million watched the opening and closing ceremonies and almost 9 million saw Cathy Freeman run in the 400 metres final. Sydney hosted 17,000 media personnel from throughout the world.

Medal tally

Australia won 16 gold medals, its highest tally in Olympic history, exceeding the 13 won at the Melbourne Olympics of 1956. Australia's athletes won gold in Archery, Athletics, Beach Volleyball, Cycling, Equestrian, Hockey, Sailing, Shooting, Swimming, Taekwondo and Water Polo. Table 12.39 sets out the medal tally of the top twelve nations.

12.39 2000 OLYMPICS, Medal Tally, Top Twelve Nations

Nation
Gold
Silver
Bronze
Total

United States of America
40
24
33
97
Russian Federation
32
28
28
88
People's Republic Of China
28
16
15
59
Australia
16
25
17
58
Germany
14
17
26
57
France
13
14
11
38
Italy
13
8
13
34
Netherlands
12
9
4
25
Cuba
11
11
7
29
Great Britain
11
10
7
28
Romania
11
6
9
26
Korea
8
10
10
28

Source: /www.olympics.smh.com.au/tally.html


Some notable performances

Athletes from several countries won multiple medals, including: Australian Ian Thorpe who won three gold medals (400m freestyle, 4x100m freestyle, 4x200m freestyle) and one silver (200m freestyle); American Marion Jones, three gold medals (100m, 200m and 4x400m relay) and two bronze medals (4x100m relay, long jump); Dutchwoman Inge De Bruijn, three gold medals (50m freestyle, 100m freestyle, 100m butterfly) and one silver (4x100m freestyle); and compatriot, Dutchman Pieter van den Hoogenband, two gold medals (100m freestyle, 200m freestyle) and a bronze (50m freestyle).

Other athletes rewrote the record books by winning at successive Olympics. These included Australian Michael Diamond who won a gold medal in the men's trap shooting, successfully defending the gold he won in Atlanta; and Australia's four member equestrian team, consisting of Andrew Hoy, Matt Ryan, Phillip Dutton and Stewart Tinney, who won gold for the third successive time in the team three-day event. American Michael Johnson, with two gold medals (400m, 4x400m relay) became the first man to win gold on the track in the 400m in successive Olympics.

Steven Redgrave from Great Britain became the first rower to gain gold medals in five straight Olympics. Cuban Felix Savon became Olympic heavyweight boxing champion for the third consecutive time. German Birgit Fischer, with two gold medals in kayaking (K-4, 500m and K-2 500m), became the first woman in any sport to win medals 20 years apart. Finally Czech Jan Zelezny won a gold medal in the javelin event for the third consecutive time.

Mention should also be made of Cathy Freeman - her gold medal run in the 400 metres was Australia's first gold in a track event since Debbie Flintoff-King won in Seoul - and of the Australian women's hockey team, the Hockeyroos, who have now won three gold medals in the last four Olympics (1988, 1996 and 2000) and have been unbeaten in 18 consecutive Olympic Games matches.


SYDNEY 2000 PARALYMPIC GAMES

The Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games were the second largest sporting event ever held in Australia after the 2000 Olympic Games. The opening ceremony at Stadium Australia, on 18 October 18 2000, marked the start of eleven days of competition.

The Paralympics brought together 4,000 of the world's elite disabled athletes, from 122 countries, together with two independent athletes from East Timor, to strive for 550 gold medals on offer in 18 sports. They were the first Paralympics ever held in the Southern Hemisphere.

Paralympic Games ticket sales almost doubled organisers' early targets, with over 1.1 million sold, a Paralympic record and more than double the sales for the Atlanta Paralympics.


Australian achievements

The result of those eleven days, astonishing given the size of Australia's population, was that Australia headed the medal tally by eighteen medals (table 12.40). Australian athletes won a total of 149 medals (63 gold, 39 silver, 47 bronze) across ten different sports. Of the 63 gold medals, over half (35) came in athletics; in addition, swimming provided 14 gold; cycling 10; equestrian 2; and tennis and sailing 1 gold each.

The Australian performance was led by Siobhan Paton who won six individual swimming gold medals (200m SM14 individual medley; 100m freestyle S14; 50m butterfly S14; S14 50m backstroke; 200m freestyle S14; 50m S14 freestyle).

Tim Sullivan was Australia's best track and field athlete with five gold medals. He won three individual golds (T38 200m; T38 100m; T38 400m) and combined with Darren Thrupp, Adrian Grogan and Kieran Ault-Connell to win a further two relay golds (T38 4X400m relay; T38 4X100m relay). Lisa Llorens was Australia's best female performer on the track with 3 golds (F20 high jump; T20 200m; F20 long jump) and a silver (100m T20).

Other excellent performances on the track were recorded by Neil Fuller who won two individual golds (T44 200m ,T44 400m) and one individual bronze (100m T44), then combined with Tim Matthews, Stephen Wilson and Heath Francis for a further two relay golds (T45 4x100m relay; 4x400m T46 relay). Heath Francis also won an individual gold (400m T46) and silver (T46 200m) to take his total to three golds and one silver. Greg Smith won three golds (800m T52; 5,000m T52; 1,500m T52), and Amy Winters won two golds (200m T46; 100m T46) and a bronze (T46 400m).

In the velodrome, Sarnya Parker and Tania Modra combined for two golds (women's tandem cycling individual pursuit open; cycling women's tandem 1km time trial). Matthew Gray also won two golds: an individual (cycling mixed 1km time trial LC1) and a team gold with Paul Lake and Greg Ball (mixed team sprint).

12.40 2000 PARALYMPICS, Medal Tally - Top Ten Nations

Nation
Gold
Silver
Bronze
Total

Australia
63
39
47
149
Great Britain
41
43
47
131
Spain
39
30
38
107
Canada
38
33
25
96
United States of America
36
39
34
109
People's Republic of China
34
22
16
72
France
30
28
28
86
Poland
19
22
12
53
South Korea
18
7
7
32
Germany
15
42
38
95

Source: www.olympics.smh.com.au/paralympics/tally.html


An unforgettable experience

At the Closing Ceremony, International Paralympic Committee (IPC) president Robert Steadward declared that the Games had been "an absolutely outstanding event".

"This unforgettable Australian experience must unfortunately come to a close", Steadward told the sell-out crowd of 87,000. "I hereby announce to you and the world that the 11th Paralympic Summer Games were the best ever", he added to warm applause.


References

Sydney 2000, The Games of the XXVII Olympiad, The Official Souvenir Book, 2nd edn, News Custom Publishing, Melbourne.

Australian Paralympic 2000 medal winners 2000, Sydney Morning Herald, at www.olympics.smh.com.au/paralympics/sports/2000/10/30/FFXARJ8KVEC.html

International Olympic Committee, http://www.olympic.org

Australian Olympic Committee, http://www.olympics.com.au/

International Paralympic Committee, http://www.paralympic.org

Australian Paralympic Committee, http://www.paralympic.org.au


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