Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Remembering Sydney 2000

Call me tardy to the party (or even late to the fete), but we were reminded this week that it's been TEN YEARS since the Sydney Olympic Games. They've been in the international news again lately because of certain gymnastics controversies, but in the last few days, various national news outlets have recalled that exciting fortnight in Sydney - notably the night of Cathy Freeman's victory that stopped the nation - that now chalks up a ten year anniversary. Ten years since gymnastics action hit the Sydney Superdome. Forgive my misty-eyed nostalgia if you will...

It's been TEN YEARS since I sat feverishly next to our VCR with a finger hovering over the record button.
TEN YEARS since I begged my parents to let me stay up late and watch The Dream With Roy and HG so I could see their funny commentary again.
TEN YEARS since I cut pictures out of Ten magazine and stuck them on my wall.
TEN YEARS since I scoured every newspaper every day for news and coverage from the Games.
TEN YEARS since I tried to take a tippy-toed look over the Myer cosmetics counter for Poppy King's lipstick she made for the Australian girls.
TEN YEARS since the biggest sports event in the world hit Australia, and Australia said "Well, here's how we do things down our way!"

Ten Years since a packed-out Superdome, since the vault disaster, since I Still Call Australia Home, since the historic floor final, since the gala performances, since battered savs and brown-eyes, since a bouncing novelty won us our first Olympic gymnastics medal.

What was Sydney 2000 for you?


Froggy said...

Mez! I was talking about this with a friend just yesterday. I was a volunteer on the floor at the gymnastics competition, and you see a lot more from that angle .. a lot more. All those things you mentioned were fond memories, (well, myabe not the vault thing), and there were many others.

Khorkina in all her queen-bitch glory; a beam judge taking a phone call during Slater's routine in the prelims; having my life threatened by a Romanian men's coach for asking him to observe the rules; what a sweet kid Maria Olaru was; what a complete cow the NBC woman who did post comp interviews with the athletes was; blatant cheating from two judges in the men's comp; being bailed up by a gigantic explosives sniffing German Shepherd before the women's team final; riding the bus home listening to the women's water polo final through one earbud while the owner of the radio listened through the other; demanding that some random volunteer use her camera to a photo of Boguinskaia and me ( never did see the photo - pre-digital); how beautiful Liu Xuan was (is); the surreal experience of actually standing on the floor at an Olympic competition, and being told not to applaud a good routine ("that's not your job"); having to put gaff tape over the logo on the french leotards, because it was too big, and they hadn't paid to have it on TV; having to remove the labels from the judges bottles of coke for the same reason; how wonderfully well we volunteers were treated by the Sydney people; every single Chinese tourist who wanted assistance started their question with "G'die Mite"; Fatso, the big-arsed wombat; what an absolute gentlemen Jordan Jovchev was, what a total arse Marion Jones was; howe much fun I had, and how fast it all went. But, my favourite memory was watching a little girl, who I used to coach, perform at the Olympic Games to Waltzing Matilda. It just doesn't get any bettr


Mez said...

I was hoping you'd stop by and throw your recollections in the hat! :)

nik said...

I was not long 18 and we got tickets to the podium training day through the gym and oh-my-gosh did I feel lucky. I was cheering for the Aussies and dying over how much I loved Ekaterina Lobaznyuk. I thought the Superdome was the most amazing place I'd ever been!

I remember seeing Cathy Freeman run a prelim LIVE (got tickets from a friend who worked for the company that built the stadium- could not have afforded those tickets at the time!) and Shirvo too I think. I remember going into Sydney City for the Closing Ceremony with some friends, watching from the top of those demountable toilet buildings they have at festivls... then quickly scrambling down when we saw the roof of the block in front of us collapse!

I just can't believe its 10 years ago! My life has changed so much! Wow...

Robin said...

I can remember sitting (filling) in the VIP seats during the event finals and cheering in my rudimentary spanish and russian.
i can remember watching in the warm up gym with Istara money change hands between a russian coach and a judge - in the middle of everyone watching!
I can remember filling in seats at the Rhythmic gym and for the first time enjoying it's own beauty. i can also remember Istara telling me the Russian gymnasts were asking her where to buy diuretics..
Mostly i remember running to find Queen Khorky after the bars final to get a photo with her ( cos i knew if she HADNT won she wouldnt be in the mood for it ) and i still treasure that photo.
i also remember being part of the school committee where the US team was staying - we got to watch them train in OUR gym - that was a treat- although they were COMPLETELY precious.
i remember how well we volunteers were looked after by the hierarchy - given little gifts and food and how we had competitions within competitions in our IT department everyday.
I remember being blown away by the atmosphere in the stadium when Cathy Freeman won her 400. I couldnt even cheer - i was just in awe of whole scene.
so many good memories.

Anonymous said...

I look back on those times so fondly. It was such a great moment for our country. In a place where excessive patriotism is often seen as distasteful, it was refreshing to see people embrace our national identity and band together so strongly.

It was also before all the terrorist attacks, safety fears and troubles that have come in the last few years. I still get emotional when I see the peace dove here knowing what was to come.

Sydney has been eclipsed in terms of scale and grandeur by Beijing and Athens as one would expect but I don't think the party atmosphere, spirit of goodwill and involvement of the community has been seen on a such a scale since Sydney.

Anonymous said...

Brings mixed memories, the Aussie girls missing qualification by .6 when there were only 6 teams through to finals. China then stripped of their medal, 8 yrs later for underage athlete. Technically the team finished 6th, equal best Olympic performance, had those girls had the chance in finals most definitely a different outcome!! Incredible atmosphere in Sydney during these games

nswgymnast said...

i was pretty young at the time so my memories are a bit fuzzy, but i remember going to watch a gym training session and being in absolute awe of how great those gymnasts were. i remember going into the city one night and meeting all these international athletes and dancing with some of them in the street (as you do). watching a dress rehearsal of the opening ceremony and tryine to spot my friends who were in it. definite highlight of the olympics was the closing ceremony though. all the rehearsals in the lead up to the night were so much fun, but being part of the closing ceremony was amazing. while we were waiting in the tunnels, we saw pieter van den hoogenband (sp?) and inge de bruin, and she let us hold her gold medal!! we got trading pins from so many athletes, and because we performed in the last part of the ceremony (parade of icons) we got to party with all the athletes! they took photos with us and tried to buy the hat part of our costume from us. best time ever

Anonymous said...
Back in training

Anonymous said...

Speaking of back training... it seems Chloe Sims has returned to gym?

Chloe Sims Facebook "fan page" :!/profile.php?id=100001645594811&v=wall&ref=ts

Anonymous said...

Great to see if it's true. Maybe now that she's a little older and more mature things will be different for her.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have any news on how Daria Joura is going with her comeback? I think she is exactly who we need to fill the holes on the team.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I agree it would be great if she could comeback. Her vault/bars combination would be fantastic. The fact that her weakest apparatus beam is probably Australia's strongest so it would be great to have her back. We have heard little about her I was just wondering if she was making any progress. I understand her injury was very serious and recovery for surgery was a lot longer than initially thought so it may be unrealistic to expect her back but I would love to see her back.

Anonymous said...

what a pity australia doesn't have gymnasts like Allana anymore

Anonymous said...

i was a teenager in 2000 and it was my first trip to sydney!

i distinctly remember Katya Lobaznyuk, Viktoria Karpenko and Alexei Bondarenko - wanting them to win so badly....

i wished Katerina Frketic was on the aust team but oh well.

the games was so well organised and fun.