Ten Years Ago – The Sydney Olympics

I can scarcely believe that tomorrow marks the tenth anniversary of the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games in Sydney, and I wonder if you might drop me a line to give me an update on what’s happened since September 2000. I’m quite confused. “How can it possibly be TEN YEARS since the Olympic Games were held in Sydney”? It’s just not possible.

I remember the Sydney Olympics as a fairly magical time in Sydney, when strangers chatted to each other without too much attitude, and when people on public transport were actually quite considerate. People in Sydney aren’t as scarey as many others in Australia think – we have an unspoken policy of always thanking the bus driver, which I haven’t seen in many other locations – but Sydney-siders can also be somewhat aloof. But during the Sydney Olympics, a lot of the pretence you often associate with Sydney – “We live in a truly global city”, “We have New York style apartments” etc – was forgotten. People just got on with the business of enjoying themselves.

For Damo (my partner at the time) and I, the games started with the opportunity to attend a few of the dress rehearsals for the opening ceremony which were fun. While he was working quite hard during the Olympic Games – a business association – I had most of the time off, which meant sitting back and relaxing, and enjoying all that I could.

A particular favourite memory for me was the visit by the NBC Today Show to Homebush. Small things, eh? At the time, I was quite a fan of the show, and I loved when we went out to Homebush late one night to watch the show and the swimmer, Misty Hymen was one of the guests. Do you remember her? Can you believe anyone really had the name Misty Hymen? I was more excited to see Matt and Katie myself.

I also remember quite vividly when we were at Circular Quay, and had scored quite good seats at Customs House when Cathy Freeman won the 400-metre event. I still remember, quite strongly, the collective elation that was felt, as we all literally, stood up and cheered her success. There was also much speculation at the time about the sexuality of Ian Thorpe. There’s one thing that hasn’t changed in ten years :)

Thanks to my friend Kate, Damien and I were also lucky enough to gain tickets to the Closing Ceremony. Tickets which, wonderfully enough, allowed us access backstage, and onto the “field of play”. In essence, that meant we were able to go onto the ground itself where the closing ceremony was taking place, and got to attend the “Cast Party” which meant a moment on the dance floor with Opera singer, Yvonne Kennedy. Now that’s a moment I won’t forget, despite the ten years passing.

And then a couple of weeks later, we had the Paralympics which were also quite exciting. Famously that night, someone in the audience went on the stage and danced with Kylie as she sang “Spinning Around”. It was all very September 10.

I can’t believe it’s ten years. Some things have changed, some haven’t.

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