|Competition type||Olympic Games|
|Number and Year||XXVI / 2000|
|Host city||Sydney, Australia (Venues)|
|Opening ceremony||15 September|
|Closing ceremony||1 October|
|Competition dates||13 September – 1 October|
|OCOG||Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games|
|Participants||10647 from 200 countries|
|Medal events||300 in 39 disciplines|
|Other events||2 in 1 disciplines|
In September 1993, when the IOC voted on the host city for the 2000 Olympic Games, Sydney won. And in early October 2000, at the close of the Games of the XXVIIth Olympiad, Sydney had won again. The Australian city demonstrated to the world how to conduct an Olympic Games. At the Closing Ceremony, President Juan Antonio Samaranch declared the Sydney Olympics the “best ever”, and nobody disagreed.
The 2000 Olympic Games were not without their troubles, but most of these preceded those glorious two weeks in September. In late November 1998, the Olympic Bribery Scandal hit, when it was revealed that the Salt Lake City Bid Committee for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games had paid college tuition for the children of certain IOC members, in an effort to buy their votes. As the scandal escalated, all Olympic groups began to have some problems with fund raising, and the Sydney Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (SOCOG) was not spared, but most of the venues were already built, and SOCOG overcame the problem. As the reverberations from the Scandal lessened in early 2000, Sydney was able to meet its budget.
The only other significant problem at Sydney was the recurring difficulty with drugs and doping. Prior to the Games, 28 Chinese Olympic athletes were withdrawn when the Chinese Olympic Committee reported that they had tested positive for drugs. Several athletes were disqualified and lost medals, but the most publicity for a doping positive went to an athlete who did not compete in Sydney. C. J. Hunter, the American shot putter, and husband of sprint star, Marion Jones, had qualified for the 2000 Olympics but withdrew after surgery on his knee. It was then revealed in mid-Olympics that he had tested positive for drugs at meets earlier in the summer. The press, hungry for controversies midst an otherwise almost perfect Olympics, reported this finding with a vengeance, and brought up the other, much less publicized, doping positives.
The Games began with an Opening Ceremony in which the Olympic Flame was lit by Cathy Freeman, a native aboriginal 400 metre runner. It was to a certain degree a political choice, as the Australians were only then admitting their previous poor treatment of aboriginal peoples, and attempting to address the problems this had created. Freeman was probably the single biggest hero to the Australian nation, as she won the 400 metre gold medal, the only final torch bearer to ever win a gold medal at the same Olympics.
Marion Jones was one of the big stories of the Olympics. Prior to the Olympics, she announced plans to attempt to win five gold medals – the 100 metres, 200 metres, long jump, and both relays. She failed, but hers was still a wondrous Olympics – three gold medals in the sprints and 4×400 metres relay, and bronzes in the long jump and 4×100 relay. It was the most medals ever won in track & field at a single Olympics by a woman. Sadly, in 2007, she confessed to steroid usage during the period of the 2000 Olympics, and all of her medals and results were annulled.
The Australians focused on swimming, almost their national sport. Their big pre-Games hero was Ian Thorpe, the 17-year-old wunderkind, who had set multiple world records in the past year. Thorpe opened the Olympics by winning the 400 metre freestyle in world record time on the first night of competition. The Australians expected great things from Thorpe, and later that night he helped the Australian 4×100 freestyle relay upset the Americans. Thorpe later added another relay gold medal in the 4×200, but he did not win the 200 freestyle, as expected.
That victory went to the Dutchman, Pieter van den Hoogenband, who also won the 100 metres freestyle. The Dutch swimmers starred at the Olympics, as on the distaff side, Inge de Bruijn won gold medals in the 50 metres freestyle, 100 metres freestyle, and 100 metres butterfly, setting world records in the two freestyle sprint races. De Bruijn was equalled for the most gold medals on the Dutch team by cyclist Leontien Zijlaard-van Moorsel, who won the individual pursuit, the road race, and the individual time trial.
No athlete was bigger than the 2000 Olympic Games themselves. Sydney and Australia set a standard that the Olympic Movement will long remember. Looking back, one almost wonders if the Games were real. Could anything in our imperfect world have been so glorious? The Olympic Games have seen the glory that was Greece, and the grandeur that was Roma in 1960, but now it also had the magic that was Sydney.
Bid voting at the 101st IOC Session in Monte Carlo in 23 September 1993.
|Round 1||Round 2||Round 3||Round 4|
|Officially opened by||William Deane (Governor-General)|
|Torchbearer(s)||Cathy Freeman (Lit flame), Raelene Boyle, Betty Cuthbert, Debbie Flintoff-King, Shirley Strickland de la Hunty, Dawn Fraser, Shane Gould|
|Taker of the Athlete's Oath||Rechelle Hawkes|
|Taker of the Official's Oath||Peter Kerr|
|Olympic Flag Bearers||Bill Roycroft, Murray Rose, Liane Tooth, Gillian Rolton, Marjorie Jackson, Lorraine Crapp, Mike Wenden, Nick Green|
|Artistic Swimming||Equestrian Dressage||Softball|
|Badminton||Equestrian Jumping||Table Tennis|
|Canoe Sprint||Modern Pentathlon||Water Polo|
|Cycling Mountain Bike||Rhythmic Gymnastics||Weightlifting|
|People's Republic of China||CHN||28||16||14||58|
|Republic of Korea||KOR||8||10||10||28|
|Islamic Republic of Iran||IRI||3||0||1||4|
|Serbia and Montenegro||SCG||1||1||1||3|
|Democratic People's Republic of Korea||PRK||0||1||3||4|
|Kingdom of Saudi Arabia||KSA||0||1||1||2|
|Republic of Moldova||MDA||0||1||1||2|
|Trinidad and Tobago||TTO||0||1||1||2|
|Leontien Zijlaard-van Moorsel||NED||3||1||0||4|
|Inge de Bruijn||NED||3||1||0||4|
|Gary Hall, Jr.||USA||2||1||1||4|