Sydney 2000 Olympics

 

Between 15th September and 1st October 2000, Sydney was the focus of the world's attention while the Games of the 27th Olympiad were held, with Homebush Bay, on the banks of the Parramatta River, being the main Olympic site.

 

The Paralympic Games were also held in Sydney, between 18 and 29 October 2000.

Homebush Bay is located approximately 14 kms west of the Harbour Bridge and is an outstanding complex of stadiums, parks and ultramodern athletics centres. The site had a number of industrial uses prior to its use as the Olympic site and, in accordance with Sydney's successful Olympic bid, a huge environmental project was undertaken to clean up this contaminated area.

Since Sydney beat Beijing in 1993 for the right to host the Millennium Olympics, millions of dollars have been spent, with the centrepiece being the 110,000-seat Olympic Stadium, known as Stadium Australia.

This is where the opening and closing ceremonies were held, together with the track and field events, the marathon and the football finals, and it is the largest outdoor venue in modern Olympic history.

The other sporting facilities at this site include the 16-court NSW Tennis Centre, the indoor, multi-use arena, the SuperDome, and the Sydney Aquatic Centre.

However, Homebush Bay was not the only Olympic site: more sporting venues were erected in Sydney's western suburbs, such as a cycling velodrome at Bankstown, and other Olympic events were held around the city in well-known locations. These included beach volleyball at Bondi Beach, the marathon and a number of events at the popular tourist attraction, Darling Harbour.

Also, some of the football (soccer) matches were held interstate, in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Canberra, to enable people unable to get to Sydney to experience some Olympic competition.

As well as the millions spent on the sporting facilities, more than $2.5 billion of public money was spent on a number of major road and rail projects, such as the major rail links from the airport to the city and to the Olympic venues at Homebush Bay.

While the building work was carried out at Homebush Bay, major landscaping of the site occurred. A large percentage of the trees removed during the building, were re-sited in the 440-hectare Millennium Parklands, where approximately 95% of the trees are native.

In addition, situated next to Olympic Park is Bicentennial Park, of which more than half is conservation wetlands.

What happened where?

Listed below are some of the locations of some the sports that were contested during the Olympic Games:

Venue

Sport

   

Homebush Bay

 
   

Olympic Stadium

Opening and closing ceremonies

 

Athletics

 

Football (soccer) finals

   

Sydney International Aquatic Centre

Aquatics (including swimming and diving)

   

Sydney SuperDome

Gymnastics (artistic and trampolining)

 

Basketball

   

State Hockey Centre

Hockey

   

Tennis Centre

Tennis

   

Baseball Centre

Baseball

   

Darling Harbour

 
   

Sydney Entertainment Centre

Volleyball

   

Sydney Exhibition Centre

Boxing

 

Judo

 

Wrestling

   

Eastern Suburbs

 
   

Rushcutters Bay

Sailing

   

Centennial Parklands

Cycling (road)

 

Fencing

   

Bondi

Beach Volleyball

   

Western Suburbs

 
   

Penrith

Rowing

 

Canoeing/kayaking

   

Horsley Park

Equestrian

   

Bankstown

Cycling (track)

   

Blacktown

Softball

Approximately a quarter of a million spectators attended the Olympic Games, together with an estimated 10,200 athletes from 198 countries, who competed in 28 sports over the 16 days of competition.

In addition, there were an estimated 5,100 team officials and 15,000 members of the media, as well as thousands of volunteers and workers who assisted in the successful running of the Olympic Games. In addition, the worldwide television audience was estimated to be in the region of 3.5 billion.

The official mascots, Syd the platypus, Millie the echidna and Olly the kookaburra, were to be seen on every thing from t-shirts to burger boxes.

The specially-made Olympic Torch was carried by 10,000 torchbearers in a relay lasting 100 days, 27,000 kms and covering every state and territory within Australia.

The relay began at Uluru (Ayer's Rock) in June 2000 and ended in the Olympic Stadium on 15 September when the cauldron was lit by Aboriginal athlete, Cathy Freeman.

The Sydney 2000 Olympic Games was the first major global sporting event of the new millennium and Sydney was the place to be in September 2000.

 

Getting to Homebush Bay

By train, the journey is 20 minutes from the Sydney CBD. On weekdays, there are only 5 direct services per day (6.10am, 9.27am, 10.27am, 11.27am and 12.27pm) from Central to Strathfield and Olympic Park stations.

At weekends, there are 4 trains an hour from Central to Strathfield and Olympic Park stations, running from 7am to 11pm.

Alternatively, you can catch a train to Lidcombe and then take the Olympic Park Sprint train, which leaves every 10 minutes from 7am to 11.30pm, for the five minute journey to Olympic Park station.

Please check with the STA information line on 131 500 for any changes to these services.

Once you arrive at Homebush Bay, one way to see Olympic Park is on an Olympic Explorer Bus Tour.

Explorer Buses leave the Homebush Bay Visitor Centre every 20 minutes between 9.20am and 3pm and cost $10 for adults and $5 for seniors and children.

Tickets can be purchased on the bus which makes ten stops around Olympic Park, allowing you to hop off and on the bus at various sites around Homebush Bay. There is a full commentary on board but please note that the cost does not include admission to the various sites. Phone 131 500 for more information.

Three Olympic venues currently operate guided tours: these are Stadium Australia ($20 adults, $15 seniors, $10 children), the Aquatic Centre ($12 adults, $8 concession) and the SuperDome ($14 adults, $9 concession). Please note that no tours operate when Stadium Australia is in use, either for sporting or concert purposes.

There are no combined tours available at the Homebush Bay Visitor Centre of Olympic Park and the venues; however, the major coach companies offer afternoon coach tours from Sydney to Homebush Bay. All tours include visits around Stadium Australia, the Aquatic Centre, the SuperDome and the Visitors Centre and café/shop and depart daily at 1pm daily, returning at 5.30pm. The cost is $65 for adults, $60 for concessions and $32 for children, which includes all admission charges and return coach journey.

The companies currently offering these tours are AAT Kings (tel 9252 2788), ATS Australian Travel Specialists (Tel 9555 2700), Australian Pacific (Tel 9247 7222) and Gray Line (Tel 9252 4499). In addition, Red Terra Tours Australia (Tel 9874 4200) offer twice daily tours in smaller groups, costing $65 for adults and $45 for children.

Alternatively, you can catch a Sydney Ferries RiverCat (Tel 9207 3170) from Wharf 5 at Circular Quay for the 50 minute journey up the Parramatta River to the Homebush Bay terminal, where you can catch an Explorer Bus. The combined tour and return ferry journey is $19.20 adults and $9.20 children. Phone for times of the RiverCats which connect with the Explorer Bus tours.

As always, check with the individual operator before you travel as things are likely to change.

Finally, there are also guided walking tours, costing $10 for adults and $5 for children, and self-guided walking tours.

The Homebush Bay Visitor Centre (Tel 9714 7888) is at 1 Herb Elliott Avenue and is open daily from 9am to 5pm.

 

 

 
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