Many expected to see the Olympic flame come to China for the first time in 2000, but the largest state in the world had to postpone its Olmpic dream for two Olympic period and the chance was given to the "land down-under" for the second time in history. Australia and its most recognizable city of Sydney hosted the Olympics from 15 September to 1 October 2000.
Time and Place: Sydney (Australia), 15 September – 1 October 2000
Other candidates: Peking, Istanbul, Manchester
Participation: 199 countries and 4 athletes under the IOC flag, 10,651 athletes
Number of sports: 28 sports, 300 events
Fire lit by: Cathy Freeman (athletics)
Games opened by: William Deane (Governor General of Australia)
Olympic oath: Rechelle Hawkes (field hockey)
Motto: Thousands of hearts with one goal. Share the spirit. Dare to dream.
Trivia from the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympic Games
The 1956 Melbourne Olympics were happy, calm but relatively dull. The Sydney Olympic took a wholly different approach. Sixteen days later, after dozens of memorable events and incredible athletic performances, IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch announced that these were the best Olympics to date.
The exceptionally well organized Sydney Games were a true celebration of Olympic values and sports excellence.The spectacular Olympic ceremony, at which the national selections of South and North Korea were united under a single flag, and the modern facilities promised a true festival of athletes from 199 countries (Afghanistan was the only absent IOC member).
Thirty six different venues were used for the Olympics, including the massive Homebush Bay stadium in Sydney.
The first gold medal for independent Slovenia was won in 2000 when our athletes won two golds at the 27th Summer Olympics in Sydney. One of the stars of the Games was American athlete Marion Jones who won five Olympic medals, but they are no longer in her display case. Jones admitted to taking performance enhancing drugs in 2007 and was subsequently stripped of her medals.
But Australians celebrated their own wonder boy of swimming more than Marion. Then only 17-year old Ian Thorpe set a world record and won three medals. Nevertheless, he had to admit defeat to Dutch Piter van den Hoogenband in the grand 200 m freestyle showdown. Another major swimming star beside Australian Ian Thorpe was also Duch Inge de Brujin who won three gold and one silver medal.
Shock, surprise and great stories enriched the entire Sydney Olympic Games. Cycling legend Lance Armstrong expected to win the 50 km trial, but lost the race to his good friend Russian Viacheslav Ekimov. Another Russian Alexander Karelin lost his 13 year record in Greco-Roman wrestling. He was beaten by American Rulon Gardner. Two German athletes, long jumper Heike Drechsler and kayaker Brigit Fisher turned their backs on their years and won gold medals by beating younger competitors. Kayaker Fisher won two gold medals 20 years apart.