Olympic fever is in the air and the games being held in Rio this year have us feeling nostalgic! Believe it or not, it has been 16 quick years since the Summer Games were here in Sydney, Australia. But it seems like just yesterday that the torch was lit in the heart of the city and the world’s best athletes congregated together to prove their worth at the turn of the new century. The city was overflowing with as much pride as it was tourists. Today, the Macleay Hotel happily greets many curious travellers who are excited to visit some of the stadiums that hosted the Olympic Games.
While many memories are about to be made and records broken, let’s take a moment to visit and reminisce over the venues that held the most memorable events from the 2000 Olympics. Check out these venues and feel the spirit of the Olympics for yourself.
Australian pride at the Sydney Olympic Stadium
Naturally, we must start with a touching moment of Australian pride. The Olympic’s official site memorialises the moment Cathy Freeman, the trailblazing Aboriginal track competitor, lit the cauldron at the Opening Ceremony in the Sydney Olympic Stadium. As you may recall, this was an important moment for Australians as it was an attempt to acknowledge and rectify the troubled history of Aboriginals in the country. The memory was made all the more powerful when Freeman went on to win the 400-metre race days later.
To note, this was also a celebration of gender equality, as the 2000 Olympics marked 100 years of women’s inclusion in the Games.
‘Magic Monday’ happened at the Athletic Centre
NBC News dubbed Monday, September 25, 2000 ‘Magic Monday’. This fateful day collectively saw some of the greatest track and field achievements go down in 24 hours. On this day 110,000 spectators – aka, the largest crowd of track and field onlookers ever – packed into the Athletic Centre and saw the following events, which are just a handful of accomplishments:
This is just to name a few of the events.
Olympic legends swims onto the scene at the Aquatic Centre
Today, Michael Phelps is a household name, known for his 22 Olympic medals and many records. When Phelps entered the Games in 2000, he broke his first record by being the youngest U.S. Olympic swimmer since 1932. Though he didn’t actually earn a medal in Sydney’s Aquatic Centre, he made quite a splash, and was pinned as an athlete to watch in the future. Of course, we now know what he is capable of, as he is currently the most decorated Olympian of all time. All eyes will be on this powerful swimmer as he competes in his fifth – and possibly final – lap at the Olympic Games in Rio.
Racing (read: beating) Phelps in 2000 was the soon-to-be famed Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe. It took Thorpe only two Games to become the most ornamented Australian swimmer in history. That year he earned three gold medals and two silvers. After visiting the Aquatic Centre you’ll likely want to take a dip in the outdoor pool at The Macleay.
The classic comeback story at Blacktown Olympic Park
No matter what country you’re rooting for, what is more exciting than watching a good comeback? All hope seemed lost for the U.S. softball team when they lost three consecutive games to Japan, China and Australia on the fields in Blacktown Olympic Park. Coming back from such a deficit is no easy doing, and the team needed to rally fast in order to stay in the running. As you may have guessed, they did just that. The Americans recovered to win the next five matches in a row, a feat that thusly earned them the gold medal.
If you’re visiting Sydney this summer, be sure to visit some of these historic Olympic venues so you can properly revel in the Games’ excitement. But don’t forget to book a stay at The Macleay Hotel for a room fit for an Olympian athlete.