Was it really twenty one years ago that Sydney hosted the Olympic Games?

Olympic celebrations on the harbour bridge.

Olympic outfit in 2000!
Olympic tragic!

The photograph at left confirms that in the year 2000 I was a true Olympic nerd!   The only previous time Australia  had hosted the Games was in 1956, when  I was  five. I remember we held our own hilarious  version at kindergarten.  Little girls like me all wanted to be the ‘Golden Girl’ at Melbourne, Betty Cuthbert. What a star!

Betty Cuthbert, Olympic Golden Girl
Multi gold medalist Betty Cuthbert

Now don’t laugh, but I honestly thought I looked rather wonderful in my  Sydney Olympic get-up. My husband  Rob and I  went along  to the athletics,  hockey,  basketball,  soccer,  and equestrian events.  We also attended numerous events at the Paralympics, including the exciting wheelchair rugby.. When it was all over I waved my flag at the athletes’  parade  and at  the thank-you parade for the volunteers.   And then…nothing!   My life  was so empty  I  was tempted to call the official  Olympic withdrawal   counselling  service.  Yes, they actually had one.


In the lead-up to the Games I was  asked by Susan Kurasawa, then travel editor of  The  Australian, to write a humorous piece  for the occasion.  I’m not good at writing on demand and was really struggling until  something quite different  to my intended piece  bubbled to the surface.  It took the form of newly arrived  tourists calling  a talk-back radio host. 

A cartoon accompanying the published piece suggested that the announcer was feeding his caller complete Bull****!

Olympic advice...No bull!
Olympic advice…No bull!

Here is a brief extract:-

Q –  Hello.  I arrived here from the UK  five days ago. My suitcases are going to be forwarded to me as soon as they are located at the airport, but I have  a question on behalf of other visitors. Why don’t carriages on the new airport-to-city rail link have space for stowing  luggage?

A –  Don’t worry, it was originally an oversight by our beleaguered City Rail Authority,  but for once everything turned out perfectly.  No-one has left the airport with a suitcase since Mascot installed its new computerised baggage  handling system.

Q –  Oh, I see.  Another question if I may?  I’m often  pushed aside when I try to catch  buses and trains out to Homebush Bay, and locals seem to be the worst offenders. Why can’t people wait in line instead of charging the doors so  rudely?

A – It’s not rudeness, it’s just our enthusiasm and zest for life,  which does pay dividends on the sporting field. If you Brits were  not such polite queuers you  would be far more successful at contact sports.  By the way, while you are in Sydney you may notice that athletic endeavor  forms  part of  our daily  life.

Q – Really, how do you mean?

A – Well, when we disembark from  harbour ferries we don’t just stand around waiting for the  gangplank – we  jump off. Some people are really ambitious and make a flying  leap for the Quay when the  ferry  has scarcely passed  Ford Denison.

Jumping from the ferries was a commuter sport as far back the 1940's.
Jumping from harbour  ferries was a commuter sport as far back the 1940’s.

Q –  I didn’t think Australians were particularly  good at the long jump?

A –  We’re not,  but we’re bloody   good  at swimming!

Q –  Well, that’s true. A final query, if I may? It seems that finding an extra 20 cents for the Bridge toll is causing  horrendous traffic jams. Wouldn’t it have been sensible to delay  the rise until after the Olympics?

A – Don’t blame the toll increase; there’s a temporary speed limit on the Bridge. It’s a special safety measure as all the bolts have been loosened in preparation for a spectacular finale to the Games.  At dawn on the final day, cranes will  invert the bridge to form a giant smile and the national anthem will be played in tribute to our gold medallists.

Inverted Bridge, smiling after the Sydney Olympic Games.
Cathy Freeman.....Aussie  heroine.

We’re not good at remembering the words,  but after all those medal ceremonies we  should  be OK. As  the flag dips into the harbour we could just sing the most appropriate lines;

Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,

 In full glory reflected now shines on the stream;

‘Excuse me, but isn’t that the US  national  anthem?’

‘Is it? Are you sure, mate?  Oh  BUGGER….well we did hear that a lot!

Olympic medal standings Sydney 2000
  1. Paulie I wonder if thats not a kiwi flag?as I cant see that fitth star.

    • Pauline

      Ha Ha….it’s definitely there!! Unless I made a horrible mistake when I bought it.

  2. It’s definitely the Aussie flag, the NZ one has red stars and no large one under the Union Jack 🙂 You’re all good, Pauline

    • Pauline

      Thank you Sarah! Let’s hope the officials at the Games have all this sorted out. I’m sure the Aussie one will be raised so often that there will be no mistakes! Oh, dear,I am nowhere near as confident as I pretend to be.

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