Sydney Olympics

Thirteen years later and the t-shirt still fits, in fact, I think I am slightly thinner than when I picked this up at the Sydney Olympics
Thirteen years later and the t-shirt still fits, in fact, I think I am slightly thinner than when I picked this up at the Sydney Olympics

“Do you like my t-shirt?”, I asked a friend at work today. “Yeah I do, though it’s kinda crazy”, she said to me with a laugh. I’m guessing she was referring to the rather strange phenomenon which occurred in the wake of the Sydney Olympics where people who were volunteer guides continued to wear in public their distinctive, colourful “volunteer uniforms” for two or three years afterwards.

As noted by The Powerhouse Museum

If you were living in or visiting Sydney during the year 2000 Olympic Games it seemed that every second person was wearing this uniform. The colourful and highly visible design could not be mistaken for anything else and was worn proudly by people from all walks of life and all shapes and sizes. It was not uncommon to see whole families (even with teenage children) decked out in their uniforms heading off by train or bus to report for duty.

Sydney Olympics Closing
Sydney Olympics Closing

I was never a volunteer during the Sydney Olympics, but I did manage to score some “Olympic merchandise” in the form of a t-shirt for the team involved in the closing night ceremony. Damien and I were lucky enough to score closing night ceremony tickets, and more importantly access to all areas, including the “field of play” and the “after party”.

In a pre-9/11 world, that meant we were able to go right down onto the ground where the closing ceremony concert was taking place. “Where do you think you’re going?”, a security guard asked as we made our way down. We only had to flash our “access all areas” wrist-bands (no photo id required then) and we were there in the thick of it, along with the celebrities, the athletes and others. Later, we spent the wee small hours in celebration on the dance floor, along with the likes of pop singer, Christine Anu and opera singer, Yvonne Kenny who were both having way too much fun.

Sydney Olympics Closing
Sydney Olympics Closing

It was a great time to be in Sydney, a colleague commented today. Along with another well-known sports broadcaster who was involved in the Sydney Olympics, we spent a few minutes remembering how wonderful Sydney was at that time. “People talked to each other on public transport. They didn’t get hassled if they had to wait in line. Everyone was NICE”, he said, adding “We should have them every ten years…”

So what made me wear the shirt today? I ran out of clean shirts for work (bloody wet weather) the other day, and so decided I’d delve into a pile of clothes I haven’t worn for ages. I might have looked “slightly crazy” by wearing the old Sydney Olympics t-shirt for a day, but it brought a bit of joy into quite a few people’s lives today as we remembered when…

Author: James O'Brien

Born / Currently : Lismore / Widjabul Wia-Bal - Bundjalung Live : Sydney / Gadigal - Eora Also : Brisbane, Bourke, Renmark, Wagga, Perth Pronouns : He/him/his.

One thought

  1. It was a wonderful period. I had access to the Olympic Village through my work and will always remember fondly the days immediately preceding the Opening Ceremony and the wonderful atmosphere in that Village. I also purchased Olympics merchandise that was only on sale in the Village but sadly it would no longer fit me.

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