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A LOOK BACK AT THE SYDNEY OLYMPICS AND PARALYMPICS
12.39 2000 OLYMPICS, Medal Tally, Top Twelve Nations
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.
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
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.
Sydney 2000, The Games of the XXVII Olympiad, The Official Souvenir Book, 2nd edn, News Custom Publishing, Melbourne.
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