Games of the XXVII Olympiad
15 September - 1 October 2000
The Games of the XXVII Olympiad were awarded to Sydney, the most populous city of Australia, and the host nation went to great lengths to ensure that everything ran in the smoothest and most agreeable fashion.
Horses Travel Down Under for the First Time
Forty-four years after Melbourne 1956, when no horses had been allowed into Australia due to severe quarantine restrictions, the veterinary services of the Department of Agriculture, Fishery and Forestry proved much more accommodating. The conditions were tough: the Olympic horses had to spend two weeks of pre-shipping quarantine in Europe and, upon arrival in Sydney, they were placed in isolation for another two weeks. The pre-shipping quarantine began on 7 or 8 August. The horses left on 23 August from Frankfurt Airport and landed, after a 30-hour flight, on 25 August in Sydney. There they stayed in quarantine until 9 September, one week before the first competition on 16 September.
Welcome to Horsley Park
Construction of the new equestrian complex, Horsley Park, had started in November 1997 and ended in September 1999. The costs were AUD 37 million, plus an additional 8 million for the parkland around. The site was beautifully laid out and built featuring 17 training areas, one indoor arena, an open-air stadium with 20,000 seats and enough land for the Eventing competition. Some of the drawbacks were the footing and the black surface which detracted the attention from the beauty of the obstacles and the decorations.
Of the 121 horses competing in Jumping and Dressage, 50 were German-bred, 17 came from The Netherlands, 10 from France, eight from Sweden, six from Denmark and four from Belgium. Six were thoroughbreds. Of the 82 Eventing horses, no fewer than 42 were thoroughbreds, 11 were French (Selle Français or Anglo Arab), 15 were Irish and four came from Germany. Of the 15 medal-winning horses, 12 were thoroughbreds and the other three were 7/8 thoroughbreds.
Games Facts & Figures
- 199 nations
- 10,651 athletes (4,069 women; 6,582 men)
- 28 sports
- 46,967 volunteers
- 16,033 media (5,298 written press; 10,735 broadcasters)
- The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), an independent body, was at the Games to monitor all the procedures followed by the International Olympic Committee for the first time.
- Cathy Freeman, the Australian athlete, had the honour of lighting the Olympic torch at the Opening Ceremony. This emotional moment helped symbolise the desire to reconcile with the Aboriginal populations of Australia. Ten days later, she won the 400m final before an ecstatic crowd.