Games of the XI Paralympics
18 - 29 October 2000
When the Paralympic flag was handed over to Sydney in 1996, the organisers had insisted on the principle that all core services for the Paralympic Games be delivered by the same staff and same team that would deliver services for the Olympic Games. This move paid off. The Sydney Paralympic Organising Committee (SPOC) and the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (SOCOG) were able to capitalize on shared departments and delivered on their promise to create the best possible conditions for elite athletes with a disability.
Paralympic and Olympic athletes lived in the same village, and enjoyed the same catering services, medical care and facilities. Ticketing, technology and transport systems for the Olympics were seamlessly extended to the Paralympics.
The XI Paralympic Games Sydney 2000 opened on 18 October with a blaze of colour and festivity, marking the start of 11 days of intense competition that brought together some of the world’s best athletes with a disability. A record number of 122 countries, or 123 delegations including independent athletes from East Timor, participated at the Sydney Paralympics, making this the largest Games in Paralympic history.
Sporting performances were of an unprecedented standard. With 550 gold medals to be won, the 18 events on the Sydney 2000 Paralympic programme brought forth more than 300 world and Paralympic records. British wheelchair athlete Tanni Grey-Thompson crowned a distinguished career by winning four gold medals in the 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m races in her disability category. Jason Wening, a double below-the-knee amputee swimmer from the United States, won his third consecutive gold medal in the 400m freestyle, breaking his own world record in the process. Wening has not been beaten in the 400m in his category since 1991, when he first broke the world record. Sydney 2000 marked the first-time participation of female athletes in powerlifting, and it was a debut to remember. Seven world records tumbled within the space of two hours. Jianxin Bian of China and Fatma Omar of Egypt took the first two gold medals in women’s powerlifting. Wheelchair rugby, a demonstration event at Atlanta 1996 and now a full-medal sport at Sydney 2000, became an instant crowd-puller.
A record number of about 1.2 million tickets were sold, more than double the 500,000 for Atlanta 1996. About 2,300 media representatives were on-site to cover the Games. The Games set a new precedent in webcasting, with the public being able to watch some 100 hours of Paralympic competitions on a video streaming service on the Internet. Users across 103 countries logged in to catch the webcast. The official Games website attracted an estimated 300 million hits during Games time.
Games Facts & Figures
- 122 nations
- 1.2 million tickets sold
- 2,300 media accredited
- 3846 athletes (2867 men, 979 women)
- 20 Sports – 551 events
- 1657 medals awarded (550 gold, 549 silver and 558 bronze)