|Games of the XXVII Olympiad|
|Athletes participating||10,651 (6,582 men, 4,069 women)|
|Events||300 in 28 sports|
|Opening ceremonies||September 15, 2000|
|Closing ceremonies||October 1, 2000|
|Officially opened by||William Deane[?]|
|Athlete's Oath||Rechelle Hawkes[?]|
|Judge's Oath||Peter Kerr[?]|
|Olympic Torch||Cathy Freeman|
Although the Opening Ceremony was not scheduled until September 15, the football competitions already began on September 13, with the first preliminary matches
In a long opening cermony, Australia presented itself and its celebrities to the world, with about 3,000 million watching the show. They saw a record 199 nations enter the stadium, the only missing IOC member being the suspended Afghanistan. Most remarkable was the entering of North and South Korea as one team, using a specially designed flag. The two teams would compete separately, however. Four athletes from East Timor also marched in the parade of nations. Although the country-to-be had no National Olympic Committee yet, they were allowed to compete under the Olympic Flag[?]. The Governor-General, William Deane, declared the games to be open.
The ceremonies concluded with the lighting of the Olympic Flame. Former Australian Olympic champions brought the torch through the stadium, handing it over to Cathy Freeman, who lit the flame in the cauldron. A hot favourite for the 400 m title, Freeman is a major role model for the Aborigines in Australia.
Triathlon made its Olympic debut with the women's race. Set in the surroundings of the Sydney Opera House, Brigitte McMahon[?] of Switzerland swam, cycled and ran to the first gold medal in the sport, beating the favoured home athletes.
The first star of the Games was Ian Thorpe. The 17-year-old Australian first set a new World Record in the 400 m freestyle final before competing in an exciting 4 x 100 m freestyle final. Swimming the last leg, Thorpe passed the leading Americans and arrived in a new World Record time, two tenths of a second ahead of the Americans. In the same event for women, the Americans also broke World Record, finishing ahead of the Netherlands and Sweden.
IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch, at his last Olympics, had to leave for home, as his wife was severely ill. Upon arrival, his wife had already passed away. Samaranch returned to Sydney four days later.
On the cycling track, Robert Bartko[?] beated fellow German Jens Lehmann[?] in the individual pursuit, setting a new Olympic Record. Leontien Zijlaard-van Moorsel[?] set a World Record in the semi-finals the same event for women.
In the swimming pool, American Tom Dolan[?] beat the World record in the 400 m medley, successfully defending the title he won in Atlanta four years prior. Dutchwoman Inge de Bruijn also clocked a new World Record, beating her own time in the 100 m butterfly final to win by more than a second.
The main event for the Australians on the fourth day of the Games was the 200 m freestyle. Dutchman Pieter van den Hoogenband had broken the World Record in the semi-finals, taking it from the new Australian hero Ian Thorpe, who came close to the World Record in his semi-final heat. As the final race finished, Van den Hoogenband's time was exactly the same as in the semi-finals, finishing ahead of Thorpe by only half a second.
Zijlaard-van Moorsel lived up to the expectations set by her world record in the semis by winning the gold medal. The title completed her return to the sport after a long leave because of anorexia.
See the medal winners, ordered by sport:
|57||Trinidad and Tobago||0||1||1||2|
|64||Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia||0||0||1||1|