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{{Olympics infobox|2000|Summer |
 Name                   = Games of the XXVII Olympias |
 Logo                   = Sydney 2000 Logo.svg |
 Size                   = 175 |
 Optional caption       = |
 Host city              = {flagicon|Australia} Sydneymarker, New South Walesmarker, Australia |
 Motto                  = Share the spirit |
 Nations participating  = 199 |
 Athletes participating = 10,651
(6,582 men, 4,069 women)| Events = 300 in 28 sports | Officially opened by = Governor-General Sir William Deane| Athlete's Oath = Rechelle Hawkes | Judge's Oath = Peter Kerr | Olympic Torch = Cathy Freeman |

The Sydney 2000 Summer Olympic Games or the Millennium Games/Games of the New Millennium, officially known as the Games of the XXVII Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event which was celebrated between 16 September and 1 October 2000 in Sydneymarker, New South Walesmarker, Australia. It was the second time that the Summer Olympics were held in the Southern Hemispheremarker, the first one being in Melbourne in 1956.

Bidding process

Sydney won the right to host the Games on 23 September 1993, after being selected over Beijing, Berlinmarker, Istanbulmarker and Manchestermarker in four rounds of voting, at the 101st IOC Session in Monte Carlomarker, Monacomarker.

2000 Summer Olympics Bidding Results
City Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4
Sydneymarker 30 30 37 45
Beijing 32 37 40 43
Manchestermarker 11 13 11 -
Berlinmarker 9 9 - -
Istanbulmarker 7 - - -


In 2002, the Auditor-General of New South Wales reported that the Sydney Games cost $AUD 6.6 billion, with a net cost to the public between $AUD 1.7 and 2.4 billion.

It has been estimated that the economic impact of the 2000 Olympics was that $AUD 2.1 billion has been shaved from public consumption. Economic growth was not stimulated to a net benefit and in the years since 2000, foreign tourism to NSW grew by less than tourism to Australia as a whole. A "multiplier" effect on broader economic development is not realised as a simple "multiplier" analysis fails to capture is that resources have to be redirected from elsewhere: the building of a stadium is at the expense of other public works such as extensions to hospitals. Building sporting venues does not add to the aggregate stock of productive capital in the years following the Games: "Equestrian centres, softball compounds and man-made rapids are not particularly useful beyond their immediate function."

Preliminary matches – from 13 September

Although the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony was not scheduled until 15 September, the football competitions began with preliminary matches on 13 September. Among the pre-ceremony fixtures, host nation Australia lost 1–0 to Italy at the Melbourne Cricket Groundmarker, which was the main stadium for the 1956 Melbourne Olympics.

Day 1 - 15 September

Cultural display highlights

The opening ceremony began with a tribute to the Australian pastoral heritage of the muster (or "roundup", in which the stockmen gather together the livestock from the vast areas of an Australian outback sheep or cattle station), symbolising the drawing together of people from across the world. This was introduced by a lone rider, Steve Jefferys, and his rearing Australian Stock Horse Ammo. At the cracking of Jefferys' stockwhip, a further 120 riders entered the Stadium, their stock horses performing intricate steps, including forming the five Olympic Rings, to a special Olympics version of the theme which Bruce Rowland had previously composed for the 1982 film The Man from Snowy River.

The Australian National Anthem was sung, the first verse by Human Nature and the second by Julie Anthony.

The ceremony continued, showing many aspects of the land and its people:- the affinity of the mainly coastal-dwelling Australians with the sea that surrounds the "Island Continent". Kylie Minogue performed for the Closing Ceremony singing Dancing Queen, the song by ABBA and On A Night Like This. The indigenous occupation of the land, the coming of the First Fleet, the continued immigration from many nations and the rural industry on which the economy of the nation was built, including a display representing the harshness of rural life based on the paintings of Sir Sidney Nolan. Two memorable scenes were the representation of the "Heart" of the country by 200 Aboriginal women from Central Australia who danced up "the mighty spirit of God to protect the Games" and the overwhelmingly noisy representation of the construction industry by hundreds of tap-dancing teenagers.

Because the wife of Juan Antonio Samaranch, the IOC President, was seriously ill and not able to accompany her husband to the Olympics, former Australian Olympic Champion swimmer and member of the NSW state parliament, Dawn Fraser, accompanied Samaranch during the Australian cultural display, explaining to him some of the more obscure cultural references.

Formal presentation

A record 199 nations entered the stadium, with a record 80 of them winning at least one medal. The only missing IOCmarker member being Afghanistanmarker (suspended due to the Taliban regime's prohibition against practicing any kind of sports). The ceremony featured a unified entrance by the athletes of Northmarker and South Koreamarker, using a specially designed unification flag: a white background flag with a blue map of the Korean Peninsula. The two teams competed separately, however. Four athletes from East Timormarker also marched in the parade of nations as Individual Olympic Athletes and marched directly before the Host country. Although the country-to-be had no National Olympic Committee then, they were allowed to compete under the Olympic Flag with country code IOA. The Governor-General, Sir William Deane, opened the games.

The Olympic Flag was carried around the arena by eight former Australian Olympic champions: Bill Roycroft, Murray Rose, Liane Tooth, Gillian Rolton, Marjorie Jackson, Lorraine Crapp, Michael Wenden and Nick Green. During the raising of the Olympics Flag, the Olympic Hymn was sung by the Millennium Choir of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia.

The opening ceremony concluded with the lighting of the Olympic Flame. Former Australian Olympic champion Herb Elliott brought the Olympic Flame into the stadium. Then, celebrating 100 years of women's participation in the Olympic Games, former Australian women Olympic champions: Betty Cuthbert and Raelene Boyle, Dawn Fraser, Shirley Strickland (later Shirley Strickland de la Hunty), 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. The planned spectacular climax to the ceremony was delayed by the technical glitch of a computer switch which malfunctioned, causing the sequence to shut down by giving a false reading. This meant that the Olympic flame was suspended in mid-air for about four minutes, rather than immediately rising up a water-covered ramp to the top of the stadium. When the cause of the problem was discovered, the program was overridden and the cauldron continued its course, and the ceremony concluded with a spectacular fireworks display.

Some significant participants

The young girl singer, who featured in the early part of the opening ceremony, was Nikki Webster. Other musical performers were Olivia Newton-John and John Farnham (who sang the duet "Dare to Dream" while walking among the athletes), Vanessa Amorosi (who sang "Heroes Live Forever" while a huge cloth was lowered down to cover the athletes - with sporting images and the image of a white dove of peace then being displayed on the cloth) and Tina Arena (who sang "The Flame"). There was also a massed Millennium Marching Band of 2000 musicians - with 1000 Australian musicians, the remaining 1000 musicians being from other countries around the world. (the massed band was so large that six conductors were required for the segment).

The English-language announcer for the Opening Ceremony was Australian actor John Stanton, while the Channel 7 narrator for the Indigenous section of the display was actor Ernie Dingo.


Day 2 - 16 September

The first medals of the Games were awarded in the women's 10 metre air rifle competition, which was won by Nancy Johnson of the United Statesmarker.

The Triathlon made its Olympic debut with the women's race. Set in the surroundings of the iconic Sydney Opera Housemarker, Brigitte McMahon representing Switzerlandmarker swam, cycled and ran to the first gold medal in the sport, beating the favoured home athletes.

The first star of the Games was Ian Thorpe. The 17-year-old Australian first set a new world record in the 400 m freestyle final before competing in an exciting 4 x 100 m freestyle final. Swimming the last leg, Thorpe passed the leading Americans and arrived in a new world record time, two tenths of a second ahead of the Americans. In the same event for women, the Americans also broke the world record, finishing ahead of the Netherlandsmarker and Swedenmarker.

Samaranch had to leave for home, as his wife was severely ill. Upon arrival, his wife had already died. Samaranch returned to Sydney four days later. The Olympic flag was flown at half-staff during the period as a sign of respect to Samaranch's wife.

Day 3 - 17 September

Canadianmarker Simon Whitfield sprinted away in the last 100 metres of the men's triathlon, becoming the inaugural winner in the event.

On the cycling track, Robert Bartko beat fellow Germanmarker Jens Lehmann in the individual pursuit, setting a new Olympic Record. Leontien Zijlaard-van Moorsel set a world record in the semi-finals the same event for women.

In the swimming pool, American Tom Dolan beat the world record in the 400 m medley, successfully defending the title he won in Atlantamarker four years prior. Dutchwoman Inge de Bruijn also clocked a new world record, beating her own time in the 100 m butterfly final to win by more than a second.

Day 4 - 18 September

The main event for the Australians on the fourth day of the Games was the 200 m freestyle. Dutchmanmarker Pieter van den Hoogenband had broken the world record in the semi-finals, taking it from the new Australian hero Ian Thorpe, who came close to the world record in his semi-final heat. As the final race finished, Van den Hoogenband's time was exactly the same as in the semi-finals, finishing ahead of Thorpe by half a second.

Chinamarker won the gold medal in the men's team all-around gymnastics competition, after being the runner-up in the previous two Olympics. The other medals were taken by Ukrainemarker and Russiamarker, respectively.

Zijlaard-van Moorsel lived up to the expectations set by her world record in cycling in the semis by winning the gold medal.

Day 7 - 21 September

Controversy erupted at the Women's Gymnastics All-Around final, when gymnast after gymnast fell on the vault. Some gymnasts were physically injured, and all were shaken, but nothing was done to try and discover the reason most gymnasts were having severe problems. Finally, in the middle of the second round, it was determined that the vault horse had been set 5 cm too low - a small amount, possibly, but to these world-class athletes, enough of a difference to have thrown off their impeccable timing to the extent that true performance was impossible. This situation led directly to the elimination of Svetlana Khorkina from consideration as the top all-around gymnast.

Day 9 - 23 September

By rowing in the winning coxless four, Steve Redgrave of Great Britainmarker became a member of a select group who had won gold medals at five consecutive Olympics.

The swimming 4 x 100-metre medley relay of B.J. Bedford, Megan Quann (Jendrick), Jenny Thompson and Dara Torres became the first women's relay under 4-minutes, swimming 3:58 and setting a world record, claiming the gold medal for the United States.

Day 10 - 24 September

Rulon Gardner, never a NCAA champion or a world medalist, beat Alexander Karelin of Russia to win gold in the super heavyweight class, Greco-Roman wrestling. Karelin had won gold in Seoul, Barcelona and Atlanta. Before this fight he had never lost in international competition, had been unbeaten in all competitions in 13 years, and had not surrendered a point in a decade.

Day 11 - 25 September

Australian Cathy Freeman won the 400 metre final in front of a jubilant Sydney crowd at the Olympic Stadiummarker, ahead of Lorraine Graham of Jamaicamarker and Katharine Merry of Great Britainmarker. Freeman's win made her the first competitor in Olympic Games history to light the Olympic Flame and then go on to win a Gold Medal.

Day 13 - 27 September

The Canadian flag at athletes' village is lowered to half-staff as Canadianmarker athletes pay tribute to former prime minister Pierre Trudeau after hearing of his passing in Montrealmarker (Because of the time difference, it was 29 September in Sydney when Trudeau died). The Canadian flag flew at half-staff for the remainder of the Olympics, on orders from both IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch and Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy, as the state funeral didn't take place until 3 October.

Day 15 - 30 September

Cameroon won a historic gold medal over Spain in the Men's Olympic Football Final at the Olympic Stadium. The game went to a penalty shootout.

Day 16 - 1 October

Olympic colours on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
The Closing Ceremony commenced with Christine Anu singing a stirring rendition of her hit song, Island Home. She performed with several Aboriginal dancers atop the Geodome Stage in the middle of the stadium, around which several hundred umbrella and lampbox kids created an image of Aboriginal dreamtime.

The Geodome Stage was used throughout the ceremony, which is a flat stage which is mechanically raised into the shape of a Geode.

IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch declared at the Closing Ceremony,

Subsequent Summer Olympics held in Athens and Beijing have been described by Samaranch's successor, Jacques Rogge, as "unforgettable, dream Games" and "truly exceptional" respectively - the practice of declaring games the "best ever" having been retired after the 2000 games.

The Olympic Hymn was sung by soprano Yvonne Kenny. The ceremony also featured performing artists such as Jimmy Barnes, INXS, Midnight Oil, Kylie Minogue, Slim Dusty, Christine Anu, Nikki Webster, John Paul Young, Men at Work, Melbourne-based singer Vanessa Amorosi, Tommy Emmanuel CGP, and pop duo Savage Garden.

The Games were then handed over to their modern birthplace, Athensmarker, which succeeded Sydney as Olympic host city. The ceremony concluded with a huge fireworks display on Sydney Harbourmarker.

In honor of her gold medal win during the games, Cathy Freeman represented Oceania in carrying the Olympic flag when it was raised again, at the XIX Olympic Winter Games, in Salt Lake Citymarker; opening ceremony there took place on 8 February 2002.


See the medal winners, ordered by sport:

The Sydney Olympics also featured wheelchair racing and chess as demonstration sports.

Medal count

These are the top medal-collecting nations for the 2000 Games. (Host country is highlighted)

1 36 24 31 91
2 32 28 28 88
3 28 16 15 59
4 16 25 17 58
5 13 17 26 56
6 13 14 11 38
7 13 8 13 34
8 12 9 4 25
9 11 11 7 29
10 11 10 7 28

Marion Jones, winner of three gold and two bronze medals for the United States, relinquished them in October 2007 after confessing that she had taken tetrahydrogestrinone (THG) from September 2000 through July 2001. The IOC formally stripped Jones and her relay teammates of their 5 medals, although her teammates were to be offered opportunity to present a case for retaining their medals. Jones was also banned from competing for two years by the IAAF.

On 2 August 2008, the International Olympic Committee stripped the gold medal from the U.S. men's 4x400-meter relay team, after Antonio Pettigrew admitted using a banned substance. Three of the four runners in the event final, including Pettigrew and twins Alvin and Calvin Harrison, and preliminary round runner Jerome Young, all have admitted or tested positive for performance enhancing drugs. Only Angelo Taylor, who also ran in preliminary rounds, and world record holder Michael Johnson were not implicated. The medal was the fifth gold medal for world record holder Johnson, who stated he had already planned to return the medal because he felt "cheated, betrayed and let down" by Pettigrew's testimony. The gold medal position for this event is now vacant.

Participating nations

Participating countries
199 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) participated in the Sydney Games, two more than in 1996 Summer Olympics. In addition, there were four Timoresemarker Individual Olympic Athletes at the 2000 Summer Olympics. Eritrea, Micronesia and Palau made their Olympic debut this year.

Afghanistanmarker was the only 1996 participant that did not participate in 2000, having been banned due to the extremist rule of the Taliban's oppression of women and its prohibition of sports.

  • (host)


Sydney Olympic Parkmarker


Outside of Sydney

Media coverage

Most of the footage used by international broadcasters of the Opening and Closing Ceremony was directed out of SOBO (Sydney Olympic Broadcasting Organisation) by Australian director Peter Faiman.

The games were covered by the following broadcasters:

Running up to the games an Australian comedy satire, The Games, was broadcast in Australia (it was also broadcast, at a later date, in New Zealand). The series, which starred satirists John Clarke and Bryan Dawe along with Australian comedian Gina Riley and actor Nicholas Bell, was written by John Clarke and Ross Stevenson. It centred on the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (SOCOG), and featured a spoof of the issues and events that the top-level organisers and bureaucrats suffered in the lead up to the games.

NBC presented over 400+ hours on their main and sister stations, CNBCmarker and MSNBC. The downside of the American coverage was that it was presented on tape delay rather than live due to the 15-hour time difference. The lone exception was the gold medal game in Men's Basketball, which featured the U.S. defeating France 85-75. The game was televised live in primetime on Saturday, 30 September (EDT), which was the afternoon of Sunday, 1 October in Australia. In their 2004 coverage, NBC and its sister networks presented live coverage throughout the morning and afternoon, while showing marquee events pre-taped in prime time.

A poignant part of the media coverage happened in the Canadian broadcast. On 28 September, the CBC was airing the Olympics, when the network's chief correspondent, Peter Mansbridge, broke in and said:

"Hello from Toronto, I'm Peter Mansbridge.
Sad news to report from Montreal...Pierre Elliott Trudeau, prime minister of Canada from 1968 to 1984 with one brief interruption in 1979, has passed away..."

The CBC's Olympic coverage for the bulk of that evening was replaced by coverage of Trudeau's passing. The CBC resumed Olympics coverage the next day, although the network would occasionally break away for coverage of events in honour of the late former prime minister.


SOCOG organisational structure circa 1998 - five groups and 33 divisions reporting to the CEO are organised primarily along functional lines with only a limited number of divisions (eg Interstate Football and Villages) anticipating a venue focussed design.
SOCOG organisational structure circa 1999 - functional divisions and precinct/venue streams are organised in a matrix structure linked to the Main Operations Centre (MOC).
Some functions such as Project Management (in the Games Coordination group) continue to exist largely outside this matrix structure.

Bodies responsible for the Olympics

A number of quasi-government bodies were responsible for the construction, organisation and execution of the Sydney Games. These included:
  • SOCOG the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games, primarily responsible for the staging of the Games
  • OCA the Olympic Coordination Authority, primarily responsible for construction and oversight
  • ORTA the Olympic Roads and Transport Authority
  • OSCC the Olympic Security Command Centre
  • OIC the Olympic Intelligence Centre
  • JTF Gold the Australian Defence Force Joint Taskforce Gold
  • SOBO the Sydney Olympic Broadcasting Organisation (nominally part of SOCOG)
  • IBM provider of technology and the Technical Command Center
  • Telstra provider of telecommunications

These organisations worked closely together and with other bodies such as:

These bodies are often collectively referred to as the "Olympic Family".

Organisation of the Paralympics

Organization of the 2000 Summer Paralympics was the responsibility of SPOC the Sydney Paralympic Organizing Committee. However much of the planning and operation of the Paralympic Games was outsourced to SOCOG such that most operational programmes planned both the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Other Olympic events

Organisation of the Olympic Games included not only the actual sporting events but also the management (and sometimes construction) of the sporting venues and surrounding precincts, the organisation of the Sydney Olympic Arts Festival and Olympic torch relay. The route the relay took is shown here:

Phases of the Olympic project

The staging of the Olympics were treated as a project on a vast scale, with the project broken into several broad phases:
  • 1993 to 1996 – positioning
  • 1997 – going operational
  • 1998 – procurement/venuisation
  • 1999 – testing/refinement
  • 2000 - implementation
  • 2001 - post implementation and wind-down

SOCOG organisational design

The internal organisation of SOCOG evolved over the phases of the project and changed, sometimes radically, several times.

In late 1998 the design was principally functional. The top two tiers below the CEO Sandy Hollway consisted of five groups (managed by Group General Managers and the Deputy CEO) and twenty divisions (managed by divisional General Managers), which in turn were further broken up into programmes and sub-programmes or projects.

In 1999 functional areas (FAs) broke up into geographic precinct and venue teams (managed by Precinct Managers and Venue Managers) with functional area staff reporting to both the FA manager and the venue manager. Ie, SOCOG moved to a matrix structure. The Interstate Football division extant in 1998 was the first of these geographically based venue teams.

Volunteer program

The origins of the volunteer program for Sydney 2000 dates back to the bid, as early as 1992.

On 17 December 1992, a group of Sydney citizens, interested in the prospect of hosting the 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games, gathered for a meeting at Sports House, at Wentworth Park in Sydneymarker.

In the period leading up to 1999, after Sydney had won the bid, the small group of volunteers grew from approximately 42 to around 500. These volunteers became known as Pioneer Volunteers. The Pioneer Volunteer program was managed internally by SOCOG's Volunteer Services Department in consultation with prominent peak groups like The Centre for Volunteering and TAFE. Some of the Pioneer Volunteers still meet every four months, an unseen legacy of the games which brought together a community spirit not seen before.

During the Olympic games tens of thousands of volunteers, the official figure was placed at 46, 967, helped everywhere at the Olympic venues and elsewhere in the city. They were honoured with a parade like the athletes had a few days before.

The official logo

The bid logo featured a stylized image of the Sydney Opera Housemarker, whilst the official logo featured the stylized image of a runner in motion and was designed by leading Melbourne graphic design firm, FHA Image Design.

The bid logo was designed by Michael Bryce, an architect and graphic designer, whose wife Quentin Bryce became Governor of Queensland in 2003 and Governor-General of Australia in 2008.

The Mascots

The official mascots

The official mascots chosen for the 2000 Summer Olympics were:

  • Syd the Platypus — 'Syd' was named for 'Sydney', the host city for the Games
  • Millie the Echidna — 'Millie' was named for 'Millennium'
  • Olly the Kookaburra — 'Olly' was named for 'Olympics'

They were designed by Matt Hatton and Jozef Szekeres.

An unofficial mascot

There was also an unofficial mascot, Fatso the Fat-Arsed Wombat, which was popularized by comedy team The Dream with Roy and HG. Roy and HG also frequently disparaged the official mascots on their television program.

The Bronze Medals

Until the end of 1991, Australia minted both a:

In 1992, these coins began to be removed from circulation. People were urged to exchange them for coins still in circulation.

Both the 1 cent coins and 2 cent coins were melted down and turned into bronze medals for the 2000 Olympics.


The International Olympic Committee awarded Sydney and its inhabitants with the "Pierre de Coubertin Trophy" in recognition of the collaboration and happiness shown by the people of Sydney during the event to all the athletes and visitors around the world.

NSWPF Olympic Commendation and Citation

  • The New South Wales Police Force was granted use of the Olympic Rings in the New South Wales Police Force Olympic Commendation and the New South Wales Police Force Olympic Citation for having staged the "safest" games ever.

Fictional references

  • Australian mockumentary series The Games was a satirical look at the preparations for the event.
  • The James Bond character in the film Die Another Day, Miranda Frost, won a gold medal in fencing. It was referred to by Madonna's character Verity, who told Bond that she won the gold by default (after her opponent died of a steroid overdose orchestrated by Gustav Graves) in Sydney.
  • The novel, and original video game of Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six, featured the Sydney Olympics as a terrorist target for a chemical/biological attack.
  • In Morris Gleitzman's 1999 novel, Toad Rage, Limpy and Goliath - the main protagonists - visit Sydney during the course of the 2000 Olympics, causing an uproar at the Opening Ceremony and 'helping' a young pole vaulter in campaigning public appreciation for cane toads.

See also

Notes and references

  1. Sydney 2000 - Auditor Slams Costs, 2003-04-23
  2. Auditor-General’s Report to Parliament 2002 Volume Two archived Auditor's report, pages 10-11. 'Olympic Co-ordination Authority ... OCA’s current report on the actual result ... Total net impact in AUD$ million: ... 1,326.1'
  3. The article is based largely on a recent study by James Giesecke and John Madden from the Centre of Policy Studies at Monash University.
  4. Information given by Ric Birch, Director of Ceremonies, during an interview at the end of the official DVD of the 2000 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony
  6. Opening Ceremony - Salt Lake City 2002
  7. Cousteau Represents Environment at Winter Olympics
  8. Chessdom - Anand wants chess as Olympic Sport. Accessed 2009-06-15. Archived 2009-06-17.
  9. "Jones returns five medals from 2000 Sydney Olympics." ESPN Track and Field News. 8 October 2007.
  10. "Jones stripped of Olympic medals." BBC Sport. 12 December 2007.
  11. "IOC strips Jones of Sydney medals." ABC News. 13 December 2008.
  12. Wilson, Stephen. "IOC strips gold from 2000 US relay team." Associated Press. 2 August 2008.
  13. ABC Queensland Stories
  14. Australian Decimal Coins
  15. "Other Olympic and Paralympic Products" — on page 17 (just before page 18) of the Gold Corporation — 2001 Annual Report — Publication by the Parliament of Western Australia
  16. Australians add local color to medals for Olympic Games — Publication date: 28 August 2000

External links

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