Memories of the Sydney Olympic Games

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Veteran Member
Nov 12, 2012
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Twenty years coming up since the Sydney Olympic Games.

I thought it would be nice to remember something domestic and an event that I certainly remember and enjoyed. But first the downside - the preparations! I was living in Sydney ... I remember the footpaths of the CBD all being taken up for about a year, street directions changed, mayhem on the major roads as underpasses were put in at major intersections ... not to mention the notorious giardia water contamination thing!

The ticket ballot scandal! Tickets being held back by the Sydney organising Committee ... pathetic small amounts of seats for the major events/sessions released at first to the punters (later 'revised' up :) ). The marching band 'scandal'. The Olympic Stadium going broke.

Anyway, the ticket ballot came and went I did pretty well - several of Thorpey's swimming finals, Freeman's 400m final, some soccer, beach vollyball, athletics heats, gymnastics, track and field. I was working for an investment bank at the time, who held a lot of the Olympic Stadium debt. When it went broke, the debt converted to equity and all of a sudden we were part owner of the Olympic Stadium :cool: . Word went out in my 'M&A' department that if we could find a client, we could take them to the Opening Ceremony. But only 10 seats. The elbows went out and I bagged a needy client. So my ticket haul ended up like this:


So, to the Opening Ceremony. It started before the countdown, I remember, when some cleaner guy drove his van or something out onto the arena, to be chased away by security. A set-up of course, but good 'pre-match' entertainment. That I think prompted this pic:

Syd2000 Opening  pre ceremony.jpg

You'll see we were very close to the arena - Row 4 from memory. Good for the detail, not so good for the 'overall' picture. For a freebie, no-one was complaining.

Under every seat was a yellow school case, with various glitter/torches etc and a pair of green and gold socks.


The horses started things

Syd2000 Opening horsemen.jpg

and there were the maaaaaarrrrching bands

Syd2000 maaaaaaching band.jpg

The finale:

Syd2000 Opening mechanics.jpg

Then the athletes, with the Aussie team arriving, the place went nuts (me too, judging by the camera shake):

Syd2000 Opening Aussie team.jpg
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And then the big moment - the torch arrival and flame lighting. Still the best guarded secret.

Dawn Fraser trundled past:

Syd2000 Opening Dawn Fraser.jpg

Then, I'd like to say that this was a deliberate pic, but it wasn't. But it shows Cathy Freeman sneaking out of the assembled athletes, on her way to change. Look at the guy to the right, 'Where is she going ...??'

Syd2000 Opening Freeman leaving.jpg

A big moment (but before the cauldron got stuck!) I remember not really realising the thing was stuck because everyone was just going off ... but I think it was for a couple of minutes.

Syd2000 Opening cauldron lighting.jpg

Some of the final torch-bearing 'Golden Girls' retiring for the night: Shane Gould, Debbie Flintoff-King, Betty Cuthbert and Raylene Boyle.

Syd2000 Opening female athletes.jpg

And the flame well alight.

Syd2000 Opining flame lit.jpg
All a (hazy) distant memory.. afaik , we went to the opening ceremony ,the dressage and the 3 day event.
We drove down , stayed with friends at Burraneer, and partied a fair bit … other than that…..
I didn't attend a single event but was invited into a media room where film was being developed and photos were being printed. Literally thousands were being destroyed, security was pretty tight. I did somehow end up with a couple.
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A very Adelaidian scene in the background there Pushka :) So Mr P was a dual sports rep?
A very Adelaidian scene in the background there Pushka :) So Mr P was a dual sports rep?
More in his professional capacity with the Commonwealth and Olympic Teams and AFL and Cricket and Tennis and Lacrosse Archery and Shooting. A genuine all rounder! 😂
I am not "into" sports, even Olympics, but I did actually watch the opening ceremony for the Sydney games. I think it is the only time I have done this? If my recollections are correct part of the opening spectacle involved people using grinders on metal to make huge spark trails? I was really impressed by that!! :)

My other memory was when they made the announcement that Sydney won. As they went through the nominations, the name "Beijing" was mentioned. To the Chinese that were watching without understanding the language, they thought that Beijing was the winner, and leapt with joy. I felt sorry for them when that happenned. Not feeling quite so sorry now :/
Great thread - I found a few souvenirs when I moved last year and put them back in a box. Not sure what I'm going to do with them. Mind you I still have a working original 80gb ipod with the wheel and was told not to throw that out. I was lucky enough to see the Aussies drop the baton in the relay
What a time to be alive this was! We went to a couple of the soccer games up here in Brisbane which were great. From memory Cameroon might have been one of the teams. No one cared that it wasn’t Australia.

I remember we had the old Optus Vision setup and they had the pay TV rights as they were somehow affiliated with Ch7 at the time. Forced mum to pay the extra $50 for a couple of 24hr a day channels. Add on the Ch7 coverage and it was 12+hrs a day planted in front of the TV for 2 weeks - what more could a sports-loving 20 year old ask for?!
Looking to see if I can see MrP amongst the Aussies.

He also did this. He took the flame from Alex Tobin Aussie Soccer Rep. Maybe Captain?

View attachment 227033

In 2000 I had a "different" job - was into bomb clearance. I was tasked to make sure a certain part of the torch relay in rural SE QLD (near Ipswich) was safe. It was a very memorable job.

Walking the road in the dawn hours before the torch went through - mostly lonely highway in the countryside. I was bored to death - I just didn't rate the odds of a terrorist bombing in those parts and those times :)

But I was professional, and did my job seriously. And actually ended up enjoying it immensely. In one of the many culverts under the road (a bomber's choice location) I came across a fox with her little foxlings. (have no idea what baby foxes are called?) She was as surprised as I was!

Just towards the end, we suddenly came across a suspicious large cardboard box, sitting just off the side of the sealed road. It was disturbingly out of place, lying in the middle of nowhere. I walked up to it and was woken from my complacency when I saw that one corner of the box was ripped open, and a very alarming array of multi-coloured wiring was visible through the gap!

This was an unexpected situation. With the "torch" just half an hour or so behind us, we had no time to call in the main bomb disposal team from Brisbane. We pondered everything for a little while, then I thought "stuff it". I jumped into my car and, alone, drove over the blooming thing. The now destroyed artifact then revealed to me what it was. And I apologize to the lawful owner for crushing their fancy CD player that must have fallen off a delivery truck.....
My friends mum was a torch bearer and still has it. The route went right past our driveway.

We had tickets to a few events but really enjoyed the paraolympics.
My friends mum was a torch bearer and still has it. The route went right past our driveway.

We had tickets to a few events but really enjoyed the paraolympics.

Random thought, but a few days ago I gave our gas Weber a "birthday". I cleaned it so well that the little button that you depress to ignite the gas no longer works. So now I have to light the thing with a match. It dawns upon me that to do this with a real Olympic torch would be far more crowd-pleasing. Please tell me that your friends mum has found such a use for her awesome memorabilia? :)
Random thought, but a few days ago I gave our gas Weber a "birthday". I cleaned it so well that the little button that you depress to ignite the gas no longer works. So now I have to light the thing with a match. It dawns upon me that to do this with a real Olympic torch would be far more crowd-pleasing. Please tell me that your friends mum has found such a use for her awesome memorabilia? :)
Assuming you are joking but the torches were deactivated by people who ran with each torch bearer before it was returned to them, if they purchased it. We did. As did our next door neighbour here and he has a fantastic display. Ours is in the linen press.
I was fortunate enough to win a package via Westpac-2nd week, quite a few events and then the closing ceremony. Mrs RB was also a torch bearer.
Could have sold our tickets to the gold medal game of the ladies field hockey for a pretty penny.

coughpy weather at the show jumping

Great seats at the soccer

Pleasantly surprised by the rhythmic gymnastics

Hockey presentation

Very Australian closing ceremony moment

Greg Norman
We ended up getting a few tickets courtesy of the participation in the Team. MrP lucky lad, had clearance to go - everywhere including pool deck so he saw up close every golden moment.

The kids and I went to Beach volleyball where the teens loved watching the Brasil female team 🤔 and the greek wrestling of all things. We were in the front couple of rows and I turned around trying to place the familiar voice behind me and it was Kerry and James Packer! . We had better seats 😂. When one wrestler lost they left the arena and we saw them comforting him out back as he was crying. Sigh.

Sons were on US TV as we would haunt Darling Harbour and they were doing a Vegemite taste test. Younger son hates vegemite but he figured if he said that they wouldnt show him on US TV. So he gulped it down and said he loved it everyday.

We were there on Mad Monday or Friday - cant remember which and the crowds were insane. We also got tickets to the Basketball Medal play offs, and were very frustrated with the way the coach was working the players. Made no sense. Then as the closing ceremony ended we were on a bus and watched the fireworks move along the River to the Harbour.
I remember my wife and I having one too many red wines, then entering the ballot for tickets for pretty much every event, thinking we'd get one or two. We got everything we applied for (cost a fortune) and I was pretty annoyed. But come Olympics time we just had a ball and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. As a previous poster said - a great time to be alive in Sydney. I still drive over one of the few remaining pieces of the "blue line" from the marathon and it brings back great memories,
I had the actual honour of working on the games from the TV perspective. A career highlight was working on the opening and closing ceremonies as well as the long jump and triple jump. Sydney shone like it never had, before or since. Our accomodation was a final voyage cruise ship, the Fairsky or star or something. She was anchored in Balmain harbour and was showing her years. It was very hard work but also a huge amount of fun. I remember during rehearsals for the opening ceremony thinking that no matter how good or bad the entertainment was, once we started the cauldron lighting sequence, all will be forgiven and forgotten. It was easily one of the cleverest bits of TV I'd ever seen. The company charged with getting the cauldron lit and up the ramp to the top were paid a fortune to deliver. Cut to the actual night of the show and all is going very well until the cauldron rises up out of the water, passes up and over Cathy and then gets stuck! We knew it was on a limited gas supply and the thought of the Olympic flame going out was very real in our minds. Fortunately, after what was about 2 minutes, but seemed like an eternity to us, someone under the ramp worked out what was going on and managed to bypass the 0.45c switch that was holding things up, and the flame made it's way to it's final position. We estimated that the flame switched over to the mains gas supply with about 1 minute and 15 seconds to spare!
Went to the Olympic Soccer games held at the G in Melbourne... loved it! and my best memory is the lighting of the torch by Cathy Freeman
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