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XI Paralympic Games
2000 Summer Paralympics logo.svg
Host citySydney, Australia
MottoPerformance, Power and Pride
Nations120
Athletes3,881 (2,891 on foot, 990 on wheelchairs)
Events551 in 18 sports
Opening18 October
Closing29 October
Opened by
Cauldron
StadiumStadium Australia
Summer
Winter
2000 Summer Olympics

The 2000 Summer Paralympic Games or the XI Summer Paralympics were held in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, between 18 and 29 October. The Sydney Paralympics was last time that the Summer Paralympics which were organized by two different Organizing Committees. In this edition, a record 3,801 athletes from 120 National Paralympic Committees participated in 551 events in 18 sports and until the 2006 Commonwealth Games held in Melbourne,was the second largest sporting event ever held in Australia and the Southern Hemisphere. Sydney was the eighth city to host the Olympics and the Paralympics on same venues at the same year, and the first since Barcelona 1992 that the were organized in conjunction with the Olympics. They were also the first Paralympic Games outside the Northern Hemisphere and also in Oceania.

Background to the Bid Process

On 9–13 September 1993, during the 10th International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Executive Board Session the entity carried out an assessment and announced that 4 (Beijing, Berlin, Manchester and Sydney) of the 5 finalist cities for the 2000 Summer Olympics were in full condition to host the Paralympics. Three were treating the Paralympics as an integral part of their projects while only Sydney was the only bid that presented a separate project. According to the report presented a month before the headquarters decision, Beijing, Berlin and Manchester were reject due technical reasons and only Sydney had the viable project and ended up being acclaimed by the then 94 National Paralympic Committees at the 10th IPC Executive Board Session held in Berlin, Germany who won the who hosted this meeting as a compensation for the second place in the overall evaluation. Sydney was announced as host for the XI Summer Paralympics on 11 September 1993, 12 days before the city was also chosen by the IOC to host the 2000 Summer Olympics. But the bid responsables would have to wait more than a month to sign the host city contract because the Bid Committee led by the Australian Paralympic Federation (APF) would have to wait for the end of the Olympic process,who was scheduled to end 12 days later.Another specific question was related to the uncertainty about the ways of financing the event,as who would give these legal and financial guarantees, that were eventually taken over by the federal government of Australia and the State of New South Wales.This was the last time that on history,that the Paralympics host city was chosen in a since in 1994, the IOC and the IPC signed a strategic partnership agreement and that from the 2002 Winter Olympics onwards, there would be topics related to the Paralympic Games in the questionnaires sent to interested cities.This was the last time that the Paralympics host city was chosen in a way that was not linked to the Olympic Games,but not the last time that the two were organized by a different Organizing Committees,but they are but that by administrative and financial decisions all areas in common operated jointly.[1][2] Sydney was the last time at the Summer Games that the Olympics and Paralympic Organizing Committees were different structures,as 6 years later,Turin on Italy,hosted the 2006 Winter Olympics and the Winter Paralympics with separated bodies.[3]

The Bid Process

Context before the Games

There are several similarities between the 1996 and 2000 Summer Paralympics. The first is that the Organizing Committees of the respective Olympics held in the same cities did not want to commit to two events of the same size held in a short time under their custody. Another was that even though Australia and the United States had tradition in the event, there was little recognition of it. And the third was the resilience of the leaders of civil movements to guarantee the realization of the Paralympic Games in their respective cities.

History of the Paralympic Movement in Australia

Despite having a historical tradition in the Paralympics and having participated and won gold medals in the previous eight summer editions, Australia looked down on Paralympic sport, to the point that during the candidacy process for the 2000 Summer Games, the eventual Australian candidate. After being chosen as the Australian bid for the 2000 Summer Olympics, Sydney showed no interest in hosting the Paralympics and did not submit any proposal about hosting the event. This was one of the consequences of tumultuous process surrounding the organization of the 1996 Summer Paralympics and as also, the fact that Paralympic sport did not have a great penetration in the local media and society. Not even expressive results such as fifth place in the medal table at the 1992 Summer Paralympics held in Spain drew attention and in the same way that Paralympic sport was treated in another places all over the world. Some sectors of the society treated the Paralympics as an event of "second class". Even with the approximation of the IOC made in the second half of the 80's by Juan Antonio Samaranch remained cold and cordial. However, the International Olympic Committee helped to found the IPC with an administrative structure mirrored on that was used by IOC.

The process to host the Paralympic Games

But, this help this not changed the way in which the host cities of the Paralympic Games and their events were chosen. At the 1960 and 1964 Games, Rome and Tokyo accepted the invitation made by the International Stoke Mandeville Games Committee and hosted the Paralympics some weeks after the Olympic Games, but in different conditions. This stopped happening in 1968, when due to financial and infrastructure problems, Mexico City, which had originally accepted the invitation, ended up rejecting it and the Games ended up being accept by Israel as the main celebration for their 20th birthday as a nation. The 1972 Summer Paralympics and the 1976 Summer Paralympics were held in the same countries (West Germany and Canada), but in different cities (Heidelberg and Toronto). The Soviet Union rejected the 1980 Summer Paralympics Games with an mocking the realization and existence of the event with the following statement "that there were no people with disabilities there". And after this the Netherlands (Arnhem) immediately offered to fill the gap. After these problems, an attempt was made to approach Los Angeles so that the original concept of "one city, two events" could be resumed. But even with potential sympathy on the part of LAOCOG, formal relations did not exist between the Stoke Mandeville Committee and the IOC, nor even between the American Federations of Sports for the Disabled. In the midst of conversations between Los Angeles and the Stoke Mandeville Committee, it became public that the chosen funding model "intentionally overlooked the holding of the Paralympics" and upon learning of this, those responsible for wheelchair sports in the United States decided to request the holding of their event separately.[4]

After this decision, the concept of the same hosting country (U.S.) was near to happen again, under an opt-out system in which wheelchair events would be at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the another types of disabilities are scheduled for New York City,but at the last minute the Illinois University withdraw and the games turned back to Stoke Mandeville[5] This situation led the IOC to start talks with Seoul and the interested cities in host the 1992 Summer Olympics. Seoul accepted the games in a late stage but with a different Organizing Committee, who worked with alongside Olympic. However, the SLOOC accepted only help in trivial matters such as logistical services and the training of volunteers, but the South Korean held the Paralympics without some different elements as different venues and a specific Paralympic Village, as the Olympic had bad accessibility conditions and all the apartments were sold with the promise that they would be delivered to their buyers the week after the games ended .Seoul financed the Paralympics with funds derived from the profit obtained from the Olympic Games and also with all the values obtained from the sponsorship quotas, and the sell of tickets for the two events.[6] Barcelona accepted the host of the 1992 Summer Paralympics in a jointly way and with same Organizing Committee.But,in order to give a better quality and viability and secure future to the event, the COOB'92 decided to standardize the entire classification system for athletes, which would give them the chance to have the same experiences and opportunities during the Paralympics. Contrary to what happened until then, the Spanish city managed to finance the Paralympics with the extension of existing sponsorship quotas and signed new contracts with new sponsors. However, specifically for the Paralympics.The city still managed to receive some additional public funds and had the support of the ONCE Foundation who give more money.The Paralympic division of the COOB'92 turned a joint-venture when the Spain's Blind National Organization (ONCE) also helped to organization and organization and also added funds of its own, buying a minority stake and also acting as a manager of personnel and resources to be applied.After the games in Catalonia, ONCE and COOB'92 also helped to organizing the Paralympic Games for the Mentally Disabled which were held in Madrid following the closing ceremonies in Barcelona.[7]

When IPC opened the bid process for the 2000 Summer Paralympics, in 1991.Atlanta was in a critical situation compared to Barcelona when the city was the same stage in their organization,as the financial guarantees were considered non-existent.[8][9] Due the fact since the fact of the existence of two separate Organizing Committees, functioning simultaneously and without any communication.Due this and the slow execution of the project,the IPC and all Paralympic Moviment were irritated and embarrassed in a common way,and at this point the separed execution of the two events had high repercussions on the projects of cities that were potentially interested in registering for the 2000 Summer Olympics bid process,as Nagano had already ensured the organization of the 1998 Winter Paralympics with also a different organizing committee.[10]

The Nightmare in Atlanta

After the financial success of the 1984 Summer Olympics, the "Olympic Fever" contaminated the United States and country bids became a common things in the following years. Anchorage, Alaska applied successively to host the 1992 and 1994 Winter Olympics without success, and Salt Lake City unsuccessfully applied for the 1998 Winter Olympics.The Utah capital "bought" the bidding process and won the rights to host the 2002 Winter Olympics in 1995,three years after the city won, this The bribery scandal became public leading to the biggest crisis in the history of the Olympic movement until the 2020 Summer Olympics postponement. Considered a short-term shot bids, both Atlanta and Salt Lake City had as reference the financing model used during the 1984 Summer Olympics, when no public cent was invested in the organization of the Games.Unlike Sydney, all the competition venues are ready and were mostly from private institutions mixing with some publics. During the bid all the sponsors and interested parties financed all the necessary works and reworks.By choose this model,the Atlanta Olympic Bid Committee, caused the Paralympic Games to be "forgotten",as seen a font of loss of money and low market potential, closing the door to any kind of damage and to the image of the AOCOG. When this was discovered, this boycott was lead to a severe public outcry opinion. As Salt Lake City was already in bidding process for the 2002 Winter Olympics,the International Olympic Committee had changed the process and signed a strategic partnership in 1994 with the International Paralympic Committee and they made the compromise to host the Paralympics on a same umbrella and Organizing Committee.[11]

Two Committees, Too Much Confusion

Initially, the fact was raised when AOCOG had purposely forgotten about the Paralympics and the reasons were clear, as the event "lacked the potential economic returns, visibility and appeal" as this don't happen with the Olympics. And this lead a civil movement led by the Sheppard Centre, the 1996 Summer Paralympics would be held in Great Britain, which a unknown city had already signed a pre-contract as a reserve if Atlanta did not choose to host the Paralympic Games. The Shepard Center's effort worked despite pressure from the USOC and its sponsors who thought the Paralympics were taking advantage of the Olympics and also forced a boycott from them. And if it wasn't for that, big local companies wouldn't give a penny. However, the Atlanta experience turned out the worst possible for everyone involved. As all the money raised was used to outsource the essential services at the venues to AOCOG.[12][9][13]

The Olympic Bidding Process

Then president of the Australian Paralympic Federation, Ron Finneran during the 1984 Winter Paralympics,held in Innsbruck, Austria
Then president of the Australian Paralympic Federation, Ron Finneran during the 1984 Winter Paralympics,held in Innsbruck, Austria

While all this confusion was going on, the process of choosing the host city for the 2000 Summer Olympic Games was already open and eight National Olympic Committees showed their initial intentions to participate at the process (Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Turkey and Uzbekistan) and only 2 of them had not shown interest in hosting the Paralympics. Meanwhile, the other 6 were receptive and had the "open arms and hearts" to the Paralympics in their bidding documents. Throughout the process, and for several reasons, Brazil, Italy and Uzbekistan ended up withdrawing and turned the other five bids into automatic finalists. When publishing this list, the IPC evaluated these candidates in parallel and announced that only 4 of the finalists were in full condition to host the Paralympic Games. However, all of them faced different technical and feasibility requirements.

Sydney originally didn't want the Paralympics

The Sydney 2000 Olympic Bidding Committee (SOBC) was initially unconcerned with the Paralympic Games. There were several plausible arguments on the part of Australians. One of them was the risk of costs related to an eventual victory at the respective process to host the Olympic Games and two weeks after the Paralympic Games, the second was that the city and the country did not have the practical conditions to host two events of the same size in such a short time, the third was the fear that the same situation was happening in Atlanta, when the city hosted the two events, but with two completely different organizing committees that did not communicate with each other and turned them both into complete failures, both for all parties involved (public, athletes and managers) could repeat. The low cooperation between the 1996 Summer Olympics Organizing Committee and its Paralympic counterpart also spilled over into the logistical and financial aspects. In Atlanta, several competition venues were more than 50 km from the Olympic Village and hotels and were outside the Olympic Ring, within Universities that did not host any event of the Olympic Games. Several forecasts by experts at the time said that this organizational model would not work, which was proven during the Games,as the worsing conditions were hapened at the areas of logistics, ticket sales and marketing. Confusions also reached the financial scheme and support and even getting financial support through the sale of corporate sponsorship quotas, the Games suffered a boycott and numerous lawsuits filed by both the USOC and by the Olympic sponsors who alleged misuse of trademarks. The distance from sponsors was so great that the Organizing Committee of the Olympics ended up buying a small part of its counterpart for US$5 million and obliged the Paralympic Committee not to contract sponsorship quotas from competitors who were the Olympic sponsors judicially proven the differences between the events. Things would only improve after the International Olympic Committee intervened and also bought a sponsorship share, as the remaining quotas of corporate sponsorship were bought by multinationals which has its world headquarters in the city, as Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines and the Home Depot. After the deplorable situation that the Atlanta Paralympic Committee was in became public, the IOC changed the rules and starting at the bid process for the 2002 Winter Olympics host city it would become mandatory that each city interested in participating in the process of choosing the host of the Olympic Games to commit to publicizing its plans for the Paralympic Games,as the 1992 Summer Paralympics were a sucess without precedence.After marketing After marketing researchs, those responsible for Sydney's bid also considered the fact that the reach of the Paralympic Games were small and limited as the local public would not receive the event positively. As there was no obligation or linkage as to also hosting the Paralympic Games, Sydney only considered the possibility of applying for the simultaneous organization of the two events if it won the Olympic bid. This possibilities did not interested the newly created Australian Paralympic Federation (APF) led by former athlete Ron Finneran. Finneran was delighted with what had happened in recent editions of the Paralympic Games where the same cities were hosting the Olympic Games at the same time that the Atlanta Paralympics situation could turn the rising importance and knowledge of the Paralympíc Movement around the world. The Bid Committee did not trust the APF as much as the organizational capabilities of the IPC, either because of the short time it had been in operation, the administrative and financial experience, the lack of experience and structure or because of what was being configured in Atlanta. The financial difficulties encountered by Atlanta had repercussions since the beginning of Sydney's plans.Asb the APC was small,but had money to survive and these values came from resources from its members and the Australian government contributions. But,this values would not be able to raise enough resources to promote the bid during 1992 to 1993. Some time after this situation was resolved, new questions regarding the reliability of the APF were raised by Australian public opinion. There were so many doubts and uncertainties that all the private televisions in the country publicly demonstrated that they had no potential interest in broadcasting the promotional videos or made the marketing functions. At the same time,was normal to the public opinion to ask the Bidding Committee what would be the sources of funding for the event, since the Paralympics did not have the market appeal and repercusion of the Olympic Games and also, "how would the APF get other sources of private funding?"[14]

Second Phase: The beginning of the dream

With the successful integration made in Barcelona, where the two events was marketed as a "60-day sporting celebration", the first contacts between the APF and the Sydney 2000 Bid Committee (SOBC) were made timidly between 1991 and again at the first semester of 1992. However, like all previous Olympics host cities, the SOBC had no plans to bid for the Paralympics. As the Committee only considered a possible bid if Sydney won the Olympic counterpart. The lack of knowledge of local legislation hindered the planning of the APF. Under Australian laws, the SOBC was constituted as a "specific purpose entity", which barred any change in its composition. Since the start, SOBC operated as a joint venture company with a 100% of its composition divided into 3 equal parts. (33,3% owned by the Australian Olympic Committee, 33,3% from the Government of New South Wales and 33,3% under the Commonwealth of Australia ownership.) under these legislation, regardless of winning or losing the candidacy, at the end of the process it would have to be dissolved. Thus, these rules blocked any change in the composition, structure and functioning of the SOBC.As a result, the bidding committee created by the APF had to do all the steps alone.[15]

After the announcement that of the 5 finalists,4 were in full condition to host the Paralympic Games (Beijing, Berlin, Manchester and Sydney) while the technical infeasibility, eliminated Istanbul from the process. The IPC breathed a sigh of relief at that moment as 3 of these cities were proposing to "jointly organize the Olympic and Paralympic Games to save human and financial resources". But the only one bidding city that didn't propose this was Sydney. As the decision was exclusively made by the IOC,at first moment, Berlin was seen as a favorite, as it was "considered the perfect proposal to celebrate the entry of the third millennium" due the fact that they wanted to celebrate the german reunification exactly hosting the first Games of the new millennium. But the support of its bid was marred when anti-Olympic protesters marched through the city just four days before the final vote in Monaco claiming that the games would deny funds to further domestic reconstruction efforts.[16] The Manchester's bid book was thought strong, but it was weakened because of the because of the recurring delays at the regeneration process and the works at the historic center of the city. However, the city's campaign was targeted by criticism from Britain's public opinion, when its promotional videos and material,featured videos and photos of the main tourist attractions of the capital London such as Buckingham Palace and Tower Bridge are showed instead of the Manchester touristic atractions.However,the first reactions in the UK were one of disbelief and embarrassment when the final presentation was taken in Monaco. Another factor that had a negative impact was the constant delays in urban regeneration projects in the historic center of the city. Many of the opinions in the editorials in national and local newspapers the following day were that "Manchester is in a severe identity crisis". and even the Great Britain being the "spiritual home of Paralympic sport", Manchester's candidacy ended up being rejected by political force, several failures happened, the most glaring being the period of realization of the Paralympic Games in 15 days, while the maximum allowed was 12.A review of the project was submitted two years later to the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) and the city was eventually hailed as the host city of the 2002 Commonwealth Games.Along Berlin, the city was seen as hot favorite due this argument at the bid book "The Paralympic Games will be jointly financed with the Olympic Games and athletes will have the same opportunities and conditions offered to their Olympic counterparts. Beijing had very weak arguments, similar to those of Milan who gave up, and "that the city would accept the mission of organizing and hosting the Paralympic Games and that the financing ways would be the same". However, that the entire project would be developed jointly between BOBICO and the IPC, respecting all international rules and legislation.". The Chinese bidding was still frowned upon because of issues relating to protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989,along with weak legislation related to the disabled and accessibility of public places.[17] With all these problems in the other candidates,are eliminated,and only the APF candidacy remained, which also faced serious problems.Despite being the only viable one, there were still no financial and structural guarantees.[18]

During the first phases of feasibility studies, the Sydney 2000 Olympic Bid Committee rejected the holding of the Paralympics, haunted by the perfect storm that was brewing in Atlanta. The american city wasorganizing its event with two non-communicating organizing committees that operated completely independently. The result of an "oversight" on the part of the Atlanta 1996 Bidding Committee, the Paralympic Games was only saved due due to a collective action on the part of civil society and the third sector, mainly on the part of the administrators of the Shepard Center who assumed the candidacy and eventually the management of the Games, but at that time they also had financial uncertainties, which were only resolved at the last minute, when large companies and multinationals based in the city bought the sponsorship quotas, negotiated after much crying and gnashing of teeth, after the situation became public after several reports in all media, claiming that the Paralympics were undergoing "a corporate boycott" headed by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).Meantime, Sydney did not submit any documents regarding the holding of the Paralympic Games, which angered the Paralympics Australia as the funding for the Olympics was secured and the chance of any penny for the Paralympics was nil.

A few days later, when the application documents were released and the applications were accepted, it was reported that all cities except Sydney had given guarantees to host the Paralympics. Berlin and Manchester still committed to financing and organizing the Paralympic Games with the same Organizing Committee and joint investiment. At the two bid books was this phrase "We will give the same conditions and facilities as Olympic athletes to Paralympic athletes".[18]

This sentence triggered a red light for the SOBC.As the bid The planning needed to be redone and a chapter on the Paralympic Games was included at the last minute.However, it was clear that the two events would be organized by two separate Organizing Committees. Immediately, the bid consultants guided the SOBC to reconsider its decision. And even reluctantly they accepted the suggestion. The same consultants claimed that the "rejection of the Paralympic Games could be considered a weakness for Sydney" and that "important votes for the end could be lost". Against its will, the SOBC approached the APF and tried to change its statute and the entire project to include the plans for the Paralympic Games. Due the legislation in force in Australia at that time barred this structural change. The possibilities of what was happening in Atlanta were enormous could repeat were big and real. But the APF's resilience was what kept the institution's hope alive.

Third Phase: And the fight continued

While the period of presentations was approaching, SPBC was structured. With a simpler and more modest structure than the other candidates as consequences of the lack of financial, organizational and structural support. .As the final evaluations approached, the Sydney bidding committee for the 2000 Summer Paralympics was structured in a simpler and more modest way than the other bidders as a consequence of it being operating separately and also because there wasn't had the structural, financial and organizational support of the Olympic Committee. Despite being there competing, Sydney's candidacy had more work than her competitors because of this lack of support. Sydney had a lot more work than the other competitors.[19]

The APF protagonism

Despite being small and recent, the APF presented throughout the process a surprising level of articulation, willpower and organization for an institution that had only been in operation for two and half years. In its first months of operation, the APF even assumed the functions of the Bid Committee for the 2000 Summer Paralympic Games (SBPG).

Resulting from the termination of the activities of the Australian Confederation of Sports for the Disabled (ACSD) on December 31, 1989,the APF had the same functions and attributions that today belong to the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC).In addition to these roles, he has accumulated the duties and the matters of being the active part of Sydney's bid for the 2000 Summer Paralympics. It was also up to APF to organize its staff and their interested parties, to convince skeptics about Australia's ability to host, organize and manage the Paralympic Games after the Olympics in an excellence level never been seen before, showing that a potential Paralympic edition on Australian soil could be a perfect opportunity to demonstrate that parathletes are part of Australian society and that they have enormous potential to demonstrate their inclusive and diversity.[20] The APC's arguments have previously been used successfully when they managed to convince the former prime minister Robert Hawke and him sponsored the foundation of the APF. Nobody imagined that from now on Australia would consolidate itself in the Paralympic movement in the same way as in the Olympic movement and this path would only be done in just 6 years. As a courtesy from the NSW Government, APC would gain a small room to work, localized at the New South Wales Sport House.[21]

Third Phase: We are on this

The activities and the work of the Bid Committee gained greater intensity as 1992 drew to a close. The APC would have to present its project to external and interested parties.

At the same time that the engagement and involvement of the population in the Olympic bid increased, the rejection of the Paralympics grew in the same way. For many, the work of the APF was considered "opportunistic" and "rude", while others understood that there was an "obligation for pity". With the negativity growing, the APF continued to do its job and the difficulties continued to increase everyday and taking advantage of this and the increasingly shorter deadline for sending the necessary documentation that should be delivered to the IPC on March 21, 1993.The late Adrienne Smith, who was now working as the executive secretary of the APC, sat down in a table with several consultants of the SOBC and in just eight weeks, drew up the bid project that would be handed over to the IPC Executive Board in a meeting scheduled for Lillehammer,in Norway.In a surprise action the APF managed to insert in these documents the letters of intent signed by the Prime Minister, the Governor and the Mayor of Sydney.

At this meeting, the 4 candidate cities were aware of what their competitors were proposing to the IPC and, for the first time, face-to-face meetings between the members of the Candidacy Committees took place. Some Australian journalists who were accompanying the Sydney delegation reported that "the APF Committee made a functional and realistic presentation, but which in comparison was much simpler and more modest than the others". As a sign of courtesy, approach and recognition, the SOBC paid all the costs of the trip to Norway and integrated the delegation, its executive manager. On the other hand, SBPC was responsible for printing all its promotional material, the necessary documentation and the application book, which were scarce compared to other cities.

According to newspapers and sources from that time, "Sydney had a modest bid budget compared to the others, which was reflected in a more realistic, modest, simple and humane presentation. As in a signal of recognition of the efforts and showing willingness to co-exist and cooperation, the SOBC paid for the entire Paralympic delegation's trip to Norway and brought its general manager to the presentation". Same sources that reported the same sources also reported that the other 3 candidates "were very well represented" and all had "convincing and more strong arguments". A member of the Australian delegation even declared that "if we had a small team, all the work would be more difficult to do." He even scolded the local society by declaring that "there was an implicit lack of respect for the importance of the event, as it equated to the choice of the Olympic host city".[22]

During the Lillehammer presentation, was announced that the first estimated budget for the Paralympic Games was expected to be more than AU$84 million and would be financed by the sale of sponsorship quotas, tickets, licensed products, marketing actions, government contributions from the Government of New South Wales and the Commonwealth from Australia. It was not reported how much was intended to be gained from the sale of media rights.[23]

Third Phase: 1993 - The year almost everything went down the drain

1993 was the most important year for the ambitions of SOBC and SBPC and the beginning of the year was in line with that. January could not have started better, as the APF was able to confirm that it had obtained the formal and official support of the governmental spheres involved and a few days before the trip to Norway, the Federal Minister of Sports of Australia, Ros Kelly confirmed that formal and official support from the SOBC was ratified and they would be partners in whatever the APC needed in its bid. Kelly also confirmed that letters of intent were being sent by the 3 government levels.[24]

It seemed that only with these public support, everything would be solved. But after several denials, the most worrying issues would resurface. Even with all the accepted and well-structured arguments, the APF still had not obtained the financial guarantees and it was feared that any request for financial assistance would be seen as a provocation. Since at that time, the APF was not in a position to support itself financially, nor would its members be able to raise funds and finance all the costs of the bid and the Games itself, if Sydney was the winner. The concern was right to be right because the choice of the Paralympic venue would be before the Olympic and if there was an eventual failure it could spill over into the Olympic candidacy. Added to these issues, there were studies that reported that the Paralympic Games had "low marketing potential" and did not have "the same commercial attraction as the Olympic Games". In this letter there was relevant information that "in the first months, the SOBC had guided the APF to look for other forms of financing that were not public" and "we cannot finance you in any way". The change of thinking was gradually changing and the SOBC became ready some time later to help the SPBC in whatever it needed. As know this, at the first contacts on last year, the SOBC even guided the APF to look for other sources of income for its candidacy and also for all possible costs of the event and also for the trip for Norway and the marketing actions. This statement came at the same time that the APF admitted that it did not even have the necessary resources to pay the US$50,000 if the win happened.[25]

After becoming aware of this tragic situation, Finneran in a letter, informed the minister that the most recent studies determined that the most recent costs to host the Paralympic Games would be AU$82.67 million, of which the SOBC would provide AU$15 million from the ticket sales. Sales of sponsorship, tickets, related events such as fundraising and licensed products were expected to generate another AU$14.4 million, leaving a deficit of AU$53.18 million. He raised an even more drastic situation, which was the difficulty of carrying out a separate marketing campaigns for the two events, as required by the SOBC and the IOC itself, and defended for the first time a joint campaign by the two bids, understanding that the function would be to maximize opportunities to acquire unified actions as same sponsors as well as private sector funding.[26]

However, the dices had already been rolled and the main challenge now was the candidacy itself, and the city had to prepare for the IPC inspection visits that were scheduled for May and June of that year, as it had already been announced that the city's bid proposal had been accepted. Finally, and as the rules of the final process dictated a final report would be released and the members of APF would have to make a final presentation before the then 94 National Paralympic Committees members of the IPC in Berlin, Germany on 12 September 1993. This selection was made, eleven days before the 101st Session of the International Olympic Committee that was to be held in Monte Carlo, Monaco. However, the signing of the city contract would have to wait, as there was a dependency on the decision of the Olympic Games host and in an unexpected way Sydney surprised and beat the favorite Beijing by just 2 votes. Thus, for the eighth time in history, the same city would host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in the same year. While the SOBC had chosen the period from September 16 (a Saturday) to October 1 (a Sunday) to the Olympic Games, the APF chose October 14 (Saturday) to October 26 (Thursday) for the Paralympic Games.[27][28][29]

After the win, Smith who now as executive manager from the SPBC commented that, "We couldn't go public because if we did it would have ruined the Olympic bid. We had no acknowledgement of financial support from the government until the day of the bid in September 1993.[30]

In between these actions, Smith and Finneran along members of SOBC also insured in a letter for the IOC,IPC and Australian Federal and the New South Wales authorities that if Sydney wins the two bids the paralympic athletes would have the same treatment, the same conditions and the same support as their Olympic counterparts as happened in Barcelona, but in a better and innovative way. Something that until then was unprecedented and would become a point of no return in the Paralympic Games.[30]

1993 Australian Federal Election

See also: 1993 Australian federal election

On the calendar things could get worse, as in the midst of the APF campaign, the country would face a new federal electoral process. As Liberal Party leader Opposition Leader John Hewson was challenging Paul Keating and the Labor Party while all polls predicted a victory for Hewson, until the incident known as the birthday cake interview in which he fumbled and failed to explain to the reporter Mike Willesee in a live interview inside a bakery in Sydney, how he would enforce the policies proposed in the document called the Fightback! policy using a birthday cake as example. Hewson was unable to clearly explain to reporter whether a birthday cake would cost more or less under his proposed tax reforms. It is remembered as contributing to Hewson's unexpected failure as leader of the Coalition to win the federal election that place ten days later. However, against all odds the after prime minister Paul Keating remained in the leadership of the Labour Party after winning the elections and increase the number of seats in the House of Representatives[31] and to the relief of the APC, Minister Kelly remained in office and resumed it on March 24, along the rest of Second Keating ministry.

After the elections: first innovative proposal

A few days after taking office, on April 19, 1993, Finneran wrote a new letter to the Minister explaining that either the APF or the Australian disability sports community were unable to accept responsibility for the financial contributions or otherwise for organizing the Games, even if they are submitting a bid. In the same letter, he further proposed that al the organization and the marketing of the Olympic and Paralympic Games was done under a same banner and this would be the best solution to ensure a successful delivery of the 2000 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.[32]

At the first days of May 1993, a small Committee was organized by the APF and during the first meetings, a document described as a "white paper" was written. This document had the function of guiding all the actions that would be taken from there in the Australian bid. Another main objective was also to base its clear foundations with the government and consolidate the bid arguments in all the process. After the ending of the series of meetings, Finneran sent the White Paper to his board on 12 May 1993, drawing attention with the following written statement made at the beginning message "the white paper … clearly states to all directors involved, the position of the Australian Paralympic Federation and therefore the position of the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Bidding Committee (SPBC) in relation to the conditions under which the Paralympic Games will be held if Sydney wins the bid."[33]

The Financial Nightmare

At the beginning of the bid, it was expected that all the problems related to Atlanta 1996 would be repeated, since both the APF/SPBC were not in a position to guarantee the Games funding. Even initially seeking the support of the SOBC and being practically ignored and rejected by Sydney 2000 bid authorities. Due this hard situation, Finneran was motivated to approach federal authorities in Australia to secure full and unqualified support for his efforts. This relationship would change from 1992 ending, as the relationship between the SOBC and the APF was practically non-existent, leaving the APC "to fend for itself". In the same period, SPBC announced that the budget for the eventual realization of the Paralympics in Sydney would be AU$84 million. that would come from revenue from ticket sales, sponsorship quotas, licensed products, charities and marketing. There was no forecast about possible media rights. SPBC also expected to receive smaller contributions from the federal and state governments.[34]

Market research at the time indicated that the Paralympic Games had "little potential" compared to its Olympic counterpart and it was "uncertain and risky to invest in an event with no certain return". Which contributes to alienating any interested future sponsor. Along this had addition, the event had "low reach and interest for those who were not directly involved were added". As a consequence of these issues, it was understandable that both the Atlanta 1996 Summer Olympics Organizing Committee and the Sydney 2000 Olympic Bidding Committee would withdraw from organizing the Paralympic Games.[35]

In December 1992,five months after the 1992 Summer Olympics, the IOC publicly released the first part of documents related to applicant cities for the 2000 Summer Olympics. And of the 7 applicants,6 were clarifying that the Paralympic Games were included in their proposals. Of these 6, all would organize and finance the Paralympic Games jointly "as an integral part of their events". The only one who hadn't committed was Sydney. Eventually, the SOBC consultants and staff turned on the red alert because this was found to be "one of the main weaknesses of the candidacy" and this and this "situation put some decisive votes at risk". And reluctantly and embarrassingly, the rapprochement between SOBC and SPBC began and even with the only viable project, financial guarantees were non-existent. And despite that, all 7 candidates became finalists. However, Brasília, Brazil and Milan, Italy dropped out during the final stage and incredibly, the two had guaranteed that they would bear and organize the Paralympics in a unified way. But with this approach, recognition came and the SOBC financed some small actions such as the costs of sending the Australian delegation to the semestral meeting of the IPC Executive Board in Lillehammer, Norway, where the official documentation of the candidacy would be delivered. With that, the SOBC sent its executive manager to Norway, representing the newly created courtesy between the committees. SPBC was responsible for printing the scarce promotional material.[36]

After this moment, it would not be easy for APC/SPBC to convince both potential sponsors and Australian authorities about financial guarantees. Even with the political guarantee of support from the three spheres of government and the visit of the then President of the IPC, the Canadian Robert Stedwart during the inspection visit they could be initially given. Time would pass and Finneran, uncertain of what was approaching, sent a series of correspondences to the then-Federal Sports Minister Ros Kelly,as a consequence of the results of that year's election, she had remained in office. In the first, he asked for political support from her and the state and federal authorities for his proposal. This was confirmed days later with the sending of letters of intent signed by them to the IPC meeting in Norway. On the second correspondence, sent at the date of April 19 of the same year, he sent copies of the financial statements of the APF, proving that the entity did not even have the money to maintain itself and the necessary financial conditions to guarantee the security of US$50.000 that would be deposited in the account of the IPC in case the city was eventually the winner of the process and sign the host city contract he also added to it the first estimated amount for the Games budget which would be AU$84 million and that he hoped that in addition to ticket sales, sponsorship quotas, licensed products, marketing and charity actions, the state and federal governments would contribute in a complement to this value.[37]

However, with these efforts, only bad news arrived and the ill will on the part of the authorities on the financial issue was remarkable. He argued that this was an "egocentric" request from the APF. of all and if she lost the process due to lack of financial support, this would cost dearly for the Olympic candidacy. This observation also served the APF, which also had no more money to survive. As it was still little recognized at that time, the marketing potential of Paralympic sport was considered "low or very low range" which excluded potential sponsors and possible alternative forms of financing.[38]

It also weighed the results of the feasibility studies carried out by the SOBC, as a result, the Olympic Bid Committee recommended to SPBC "that they should seek money not only for the bid process but also for the event itself". and upon receiving this message, the SPBC announced that the estimated costs of the event were AU$84 million and would be financed by ticket sales, sponsorship quotas, partnerships, marketing and charity actions. There were eventual plans to receive contributions from the state and federal governments. Nonetheless,the reality was much worse, as the present value in the entity's account did not reach the equivalent value to reach the US$50.000 that would have to be deposited in the IPC bank account if Sydney were the eventual winner.[39]

In a new correspondence, Finneran sent to the Minister Kelly a revised budget in which costs were reduced to AU$82.67 million. In this new study, funding sources were revised and new sources were added as the US$15 million that would come from the SOBC coffers. Another AU$14.4 million would come from ticket sales, quotas and sponsorship partnerships and other actions, totaling AU$58.33 million that would be missing. However, in the next Finneran ended up realizing that that the SOBC's market forecast was correct and, when he saw this, he also suggested that the two bids have to be promoted jointly as one, argued for a joint campaign to maximise the human opportunities to acquire private funding.[40]

Despite the success and excitement after the presentation in Norway. There was a continuation of the search for recognition by government authorities and political leaders. The Atlanta Games were approaching and the Paralympics were still seen as "an uncertain and risky business". The long-awaited public success of the Paralympics, seen in Barcelona, had not yet manifested and the insistence and approaches on the part of the candidacy progressively alienated potential supporters and always created new obstacles as Australia's 1993 federal election approached.[41]

As the Labour Party stayed in power, Minister Kelly remained in office, Finneran sent another letter now explaining that under current conditions neither the APF nor the Australian community of people with disabilities were able to afford or finance the Paralympic Games. and that even if it was difficult to make a bid happen. He was suggesting that the 2000 Summer Olympics and Paralympics be organized and managed under the same umbrella as the best solution for delivering the Paralympics.[42]

The APF's problems were not resolved at that time, not even with the success and recognition obtained with the presentation in Norway. With each passing day, to the despair of the APF, the chances of success and political recognition were worsening and little by little relations with the SOBC were fraying, as well as with senior public servants and political leadership. According to the feasibility studies carried out at the beginning of the application phase, the Paralympics were considered "a high-risk and uncertain business" as the dreamed recognition and public success was taking a long time to happen. For a while, the perseverance actions, approach added to an insistent movement created a "certain antipathy" on the part of some. However the APF knew that its survival was at stake and facing all those obstacles could bring it a larger group of supporters and effectively more resources.[43]

The start of budget battles

On May 18, 1993, an APF-organized and scheduled meeting took place with members of the Prime Minister's Cabinet of New South Wales. In it were the leaders of the Paralympic project and its main theme was whether the State of New South Wales "was prepared to provide financial and budgetary support for the Paralympic Games, if the APF proposal wins" and "if there was a need to expand that coverage if new needs arose". The response from the cabinet was positive. But this "would only happen if the two events were organized by a single committee".[44]

The original estimated budget amount was AU$84 million and, to the delight of the APF, the state government has committed to a possibility to donate a further AU$15 million. If there was a possibility that the federal government of Australia would add the same value. Thus, the budget forecasts would give AU$54 million and was a long way to find a find the remaining 30 million would be raised through the conquest of sponsors from the corporate system. One of those present at this meeting, the former IPC vice-president, the Australian Greg Hartung, recalls some results of this meeting in an article published in the Australian Sport Reflections: "We left that meeting exhausted, but we were sure that we created a clear case for the federal government give us the help we need".[45]

Following this meeting, Finneran appealed on 24 June 1993 to Minister Kelly and argued that the needs of the Paralympic bid were practically the same as those of the Olympic bid. "Just as the AOC cannot finance the Olympic Games, the APF cannot finance the Paralympic Games either." and will "assist in the delivery of their respective events".[46]

Hartung in his article, summarized the situation as follows: " The APF obtained sympathy, goodwill and institutional support from government spheres by sending letters of intent along with the bid book.But this not happened with the government funding, something that its 3 competitors had achieved. Not even when he visited Sydney in July 1993, then-IPC President Canadian Robert Steadward and met with then-Premier of New South Wales, John Fahey could guarantee.

The nightmare is over: the success finally comes

As the year 1993 drew to a close, the agonizing process and unbelievable debate in which the Summer Paralympics budget was involved came to an end.

On 1 October 1993, one of Australia's leading newspapers, the Daily Telegraph, reported that AU$65 million had been allocated for the budget of the Sydney Paralympic Games. AU$45 million would come from the coffers of the state of New South Wales, after the state premier committed to recover more than 50% of the money from other budget sources. The federal government would likely allocate another AU$25 million.[47]

According to The Telegraph, Fahey's letter read: "In determining a sensible approach to overcoming the funding gap, I came to the conclusion that the fairest for the Paralympics, the approach would be for the State and Commonwealth to agree on a 50/50 split." According to Hartung, since the beginning of the process, the completion of this process is summarized as follows: "For the APF, it was a tortuous journey, to reach this "sensitive approach". But they went to the end. it was exactly the end of the story; but the end of the beginning. And, at the very least, a very determined and clear step for the Paralympic Movement."[48]

The final cost

The games was estimated to cost AU$157 million, with the NSW Government and Commonwealth Government contributing AUS$25 million each. The Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (SOCOG) contributed $18 million, within the bid estimates. The Sydney Paralympic Organising Committee (SPOC) signed the host city contract with the recently formed International Paralympic Committee in 1993, a few days after the city had been chosen to host the 2000 Summer Olympics. This contract outlined the SPOC's obligations in hosting the Paralympic Games. To cover the costs, another revenues was raised via sponsorships quotas shared with SOCOG and ticket sales. The 110,000 seat Stadium Australia was completed three months early in February 1999, this stadium was funded mainly by the private sector at an estimated cost of $690 million, the Government contributed $124 million to this project. Though there is no budgeted profit, if any profit is made though the games, repayment to the Federal and State Governments is the first priority. In October 1998, governing bodies of the Olympics and Paralympics initiated a joint call for volunteers. An estimated total of forty-one thousand Australians answered this call, non-including those sourced from specialist community groups.[2] [49]

Environment

Daytime view of pond with waterlilies at Sydney Olympic Park during the 2000 Sydney Paralympic Games
Daytime view of pond with waterlilies at Sydney Olympic Park during the 2000 Sydney Paralympic Games

In an innovative way, the Olympic and Paralympic project had as the major focus, the completion of the first stage of the Millennium Parklands. This is composed of 450 hectares of landscape, with up to 40 kilometers of pedestrian and cycle trails. This major first stage included focus on the surrounding Olympic and Paralympic facilities, providing a beautiful landscape for recreational activities, conservation and environmental education/preservation. During this time work on the Water Reclamation and Management Scheme (WRAMS) will continue to progress. The WRAMS will be in use during the games with the first stage (recycled water to be used for flushing and irrigation) to be implemented. This system will continue after the games, and will be fully developed after the games has been completed. The WRAMS system is only one of the many water saving management strategies to be used during the games period. Plans to use stormwater runoff from Newington to be used as irrigation and a requirement for Olympic venues to utilise water saving techniques and devices are also some of the other water saving plans. Stormwater from the Stadium Australia roof is to be collected and used to irrigate the central stadium. An environmental education program is also delivered throughout 1999–2000 to ensure that Homebush Bay and the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympics continues to be recognised for their commitment to the environment after their end.[50]

Administration

Since the 1989,the Paralympic Games are governed and organized by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). The Games were organised by the Sydney Paralympic Organising Committee (SPOC) led by President Dr John Grant and chief executive officer Lois Appleby. The Sydney 2000 Summer Olympic Games Organizing Committee (SOCOOG) was established at the same time and in a parallel way as the Sydney 2000 Summer Paralympic Games Organizing Committee (SPOC) on 12 November 1993 by the Australian Government Office of Olympic Co-ordination. In January 1995, SPOC and SOCOOG became public companies controlled by the Government, receiving support by both State and Commonwealth Governments. The two companies had the same board of directors composed of members appointed by Premier, Minister for the Olympics, the Federal Treasurer and the Minister for Sports and Recreation conducted the joint administration. As their Olympic counterpart the SPOC was responsible for planning and staging the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games including the tickets and information services, the disability categorisation, converting Olympic venues to Paralympic venues, conducting public events, facilitating drug testing, arranging broadcasting, housing for athletes, arranging medal ceremonies, transporting athletes and conducting the Paralympic torch relay. Along the IPC, the SPOC also had the responsibilities to regulated the use of Paralympic Games brand and images. Subsequently, a Committee was created that involved all interested parties in the conduction of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Known as the Joint Working Group was established in June 1997, linking the Boards of both the SPOC and the SOCOG. On 29 November of the same the Sydney Games Administration Act 2000 was passed at the parliament. This specific legislative act forced the dissolution of the SOCOG and SPOC from 1 January 2001,and their assets and liabilities were transferred to the Olympic Coordination Authority (OCA).[51]

On January 23, 1997, the International Paralympic Committee appointed the Spaniard Xavier Gonzales as General Manager of Sports and Competition Venues. He had held the same roles during the Barcelona Olympic and Paralympic Games in 1992 and also at the Atlanta Summer Paralympics in 1996,supervising more than 3 thousand athletes in 21 competition venues and also in supplementary/auxiliary ones. Gonzales was also responsible for finalizing the program, the final calendar of the Games together shared responsibility with each of the managers from each sport and venue. Gonzales was the only non-Australian to occupy a position in the Organizing Committee.[52]

Transport and Logistics Operations

Contrary to what happened in Atlanta, when the responsibilities of transport, logistics and movement were shared and the city during the Olympic and Paralympic Games turned into chaos, local authorities in Sydney understood that there was a real need for transport and logistics operations to be carried out in a unified way. So that this did not happen because of the distances that in the city were greater than in the American city, understood that all transport and logistics operations would have to be centralized and unified transport and road services during the Olympic and Paralympic Games, under the auspices of the Olympic Transport and Roads Authority (SORTA). In addition to the roads and logistics of the Games, this body was also responsible for the railways, since a good part of the movements of the Games were made by train, subway and surface subway.[53]

Political context

Yothu Yindi performs at the Sydney opening ceremony
Yothu Yindi performs at the Sydney opening ceremony

The Sydney 2000 Summer Paralympic was only the sixth time that the Summer Paralympics were hosted at the same city as the Olympic Games and the fifth that they were Organized by a different organizing Committee. Contrary to what was expected, the 16 days of transition between the Games (October 2 to 18, 2000) was tense for the local authorities. At the early hours of the morning of monday October 2, was turned public that that the SOCOOG and the city hall jointly decided to remove the gigantic Olympic rings from the Harbour Bridge. This decision ended up overshadowing the launch of the Paralympic Games and the Aboriginal ritual in which the Paralympic torch would be lit at the foot of Australian Parliament Hill in Canberra. A few hours later, the chairman of SOCOOG, Michael Knight, publicly announced that he would no longer participate in public events related to the Paralympic Games. For the australian public opinion, this was seen this decision was frowned upon and was also seen as insensitive authoritarian and self-centered attitude towards the Paralympic Games. Subsequently, SOCOOG marked for a next day a public celebration dedicated to the volunteers who worked for the success of the Games. However,the local authorities knew that this celebration would coincide with the arrival of the Paralympic torch in the city and refused to re-mark this celebration.

With a few months to go until the opening ceremony,SOCOOG was taken by surprise,when they found out behind the scenes that the pop diva Kylie Minogue and group Yothu Yindi were going to headline the Paralympic opening ceremonies.Some hours before this announcement becomes public, the Olympic organisers, quickly made an invitation to Kylie and Yothu Yindi to participate at the Opening Ceremonies. But, was already known in Australia that Kylie was not able to be at the country on that week, because she had a full schedule in Europe to promote the upcoming release from the Light Years album album and wouldn't have time to get to Sydney before the ceremony. Kylie and the band performed at the Olympics Closing Ceremonies instead.[54]

Controversies

Main article: Cheating at the Paralympic Games

The Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games were marred by a scandal which saw a classification of athletes removed from the next two Summer Paralympics.[55][56] Fernando Vicente Martin, former head of the Spanish Federation for Mentally Handicapped Sports, allowed athletes with no disabilities to compete at the Games in order to win the gold medal. The team at the centre of the row was the Spanish basketball team, who won the gold medal in the Basketball ID, beating Russia 87–63, despite fielding a team mainly composed of athletes with no intellectual disability.[56][57] It was claimed that at least 10 of the 12 Spanish players had no disability, rather were recruited to improve the team's performance and guarantee future funding. Martin was later suspended by the IPC and expelled by the Spanish Paralympic Committee.[58]

The athletes were quickly exposed and the IPC reacted by removing all events from the following Games for athletes with intellectual disabilities. The decision was overturned 12-years later in London. Along with the controversy surrounding the Spanish basketball team, the games turned over 11 positive doping tests out of a total 630. Of these 11 positive tests, 10 were from male athletes and 1 from a female athlete. This leaves the games with the highest number of positive tests from the 1992 – 2008 Paralympics.[59]

Mascot

Main article: Lizzie (mascot)

The mascot for the 2000 Paralympics was "Lizzie" the Frill-necked Lizard.

Ceremonies

The Australian team at the opening ceremony
The Australian team at the opening ceremony

The opening ceremony commenced on Wednesday 18 October at 8.00 pm with over 6000 performers taking part.[60] The show started by the Australian artist Jeffrey St. John sang the national anthem "Advance Australia Fair" and "The Challenge" at the Opening Ceremony. The 2-hours and half ceremonies ended Kylie Minogue with an "Waltzing Matilda" special version, her rendition of "Kool & the Gang's Celebration" and her current hit "Spinning Around". Australian actor Bryan Brown was selected as ceremony narrator for the evening. Other performers for the Opening Ceremony included the band Yothu Yindi, Nathan Cavaleri, Melissa Ippolito, Taxiride, Billy Thorpe, Jack Thompson, Renee Geyer, Tina Harris, Vanessa Amorosi and Christine Anu. Australian country artist Graeme Connors sang his song "Being Here", as the event official theme song. Addresses were given by Dr John Grant, President of the SPOC and Dr Robert Steadward, President of the IPC prior to Sir William Deane declaring the official opening of the games. This was followed by Tracey Cross, a blind swimmer, taking the oath on behalf of the athletes and Mary Longden, an Equestrian Referee, taking the oath on behalf of the officials.

The Paralympic torch relay final legs were held until ending with Louise Sauvage who lit the cauldron.[60]

The closing ceremony took place on Sunday 29 October at 7.30 pm. The athletes intermingled with other nations and took to the stage for a party filled with fire, emotion and celebration. Unlike previous ceremonies,while the crisis between the divergencies between the Athens Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games(ATHOC),the greek governament and the International Paralympic Committee remained,as the next host-city had not signed all the paperwork related to the Paralympic Games, the Greek anthem was not played and the Paralympic flag was handed over to then deputy mayor of Athens,Nikos Yiatrakos.The Organizing Committee of the next Games taking advantage of the fact that the Greek community in Australia is the largest outside of Greece, invited the Millennium Choir of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia to sing the song "Axion Esti, Tis Dikiosinis Helie Noite" written and composed by Mikis Theodorakis during the handover ceremony.[61] To close the ceremonies, the first australian group to make international success outside the country, The Seekers, closed the games with "The Carnival Is Over". Due an accident some days before the event and a broken hip, the singer Judith Durham sang the song sitting in a wheelchair.[60]

Calendar

In the following calendar for the 2000 Summer Paralympics, each blue box represents an event competition. The yellow boxes represent days during which medal-awarding finals for a sport are held. The number in each yellow box represents the number of finals that are contested on that day.[62]

 ●  Opening ceremony      Event competitions      Event finals  ●  Closing ceremony
October  Wed
18th
 Tue
19th
Fri
20th
Sat
21st
Sun
22nd
Mon
23rd
Thu
24nd
Wed
25th
Tue
26nd
Fri
27nd
Sat
28th
Sun
29th
Gold
Medals
Ceremonies OC CC
Archery 2 3 2 7
Athletics 17 20 23 28 20 28 13 234
Basketball ID 1 1
Boccia 3 2 5
Cycling Track 3 4 1 2 5 15
Cycling Road 3 5 4 12
Equestrian 2 2 2 3 9
Football 7-a-side 1 1
Goalball 2 2
Judo 2 2 3 7
Powerlifting 5 5 2 2 2 2 2 10
Sailing 2 2
Shooting 2 2 2 2 2 2 12
Sitting volleyball 1 1
Standing volleyball 1 1
Swimming 16 18 16 10 24 18 169
Table tennis 2 4 5 5 5 5 26
Wheelchair basketball 1 1 2
Wheelchair fencing 4 2 3 4 2 15
Wheelchair rugby 1 1
Wheelchair tennis 2 2 4
Total 0 7 47 55 58 52 54 57 17 551

Venues

In total 12 venues were used at the 2000 Summer Olympics were used at the Games in Sydney.[63]

Sydney Olympic Park

Main article: Sydney Olympic Park

Olympic Stadium
Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre
State Hockey Centre

Sydney

Torch relay

Paralympic Torch, designed by Robert Jurgens, now placed in front of ANZ Stadium
Paralympic Torch, designed by Robert Jurgens, now placed in front of ANZ Stadium

The MAA Torch Relay main objectives were to develop a route and an event which would help maintain momentum and the engagement between the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games, promote the Paralympic Games and encourage ticket purchases. It was also to safely deliver the Paralympic flame to the Opening Ceremony.

While the relay visited each Australian capital city, it also focused strongly on Sydney and the surrounding regions, as this was the main catchment area for ticket sales.

The Paralympic Torch Relay succeeded in generating community and media support for the Games, with crowds in many areas and significant crowds lining the Sydney metropolitan route in the final two days of the relay.

The flame was created from burning eucalyptus leaves in a special lighting ceremony at Parliament House, Canberra on 5 October 2000, involved 920 torchbearers in each capital of australian state, each of whom carried the flame an average of 500 metres.[64]

After visiting each capital city (except Sydney) by air and land in counterclockwise a way,the torch entered New South Wales (NSW) from Moss Vale through the Southern Highlands, Illawarra, Campbelltown, Penrith, Windsor, Hunter and Central Coast areas before heading to Sydney Metropolitan Region.

Australian legend Louise Sauvage lights the Paralympic Cauldron at the finish of the torch relay, 2000 Summer Paralympics Opening Ceremony
Australian legend Louise Sauvage lights the Paralympic Cauldron at the finish of the torch relay, 2000 Summer Paralympics Opening Ceremony

Highlights included:

Sports and impairment groups

The final program of the Games was presented by the Executive Council of the IPC in a meeting that took place between March 12 and 16, 1997 in Sweden. At this same meeting, SPOC presented its sustainability policies that were developed in a connected way and mirrored those implemented by SOOCOG. This program proposals needed to be independently approved by both the IPC and SPOC.[65] The final program was turned public at the day 8 August 1997,and some changes were made in comparation to Atlanta, including the removal of 4 events in table tennis, 3 in shooting and 3 more in cycling. However, the program for the intellectually disabled has been expanded. For this disability, 14 new events in athletics, 18 in swimming and 2 in table tennis were added. Also an ID basketball tournament with 8-teams was also added. Track cycling has had its program completely overhauled and 9 new events have been added. Following its Olympic version, Powerlifting won 10 all-female events, wheelchair rugby and sailing officially became a Paralympic sports and with that the rugby tournament was expanded from 6 to 8 teams and single-handed 2.4mR event was added.[66]

Excited school children in green and gold show their support for the Australian Paralympic Team at the 2000 Summer Paralympics
Excited school children in green and gold show their support for the Australian Paralympic Team at the 2000 Summer Paralympics

Impairment groups for the games included:

Games highlights

The Sydney Paralympics were deemed the "best Games ever" by Dr. Robert Steadward (then president of the International Paralympic Committee). The games were Australia's most successful in history, with the nation achieving their highest medal count. Of the 149 medals won, 63 were gold, 39 silver, and 47 were bronze, from ten different sports. Ticket sales exceeded organisers' initial targets, with 1.1 million tickets sold; nearly twice that of the 1996 Summer Paralympics.

Action shot of Australian swimming star Siobhan Paton, who won six gold medals at the 2000 Summer Paralympics
Action shot of Australian swimming star Siobhan Paton, who won six gold medals at the 2000 Summer Paralympics

The Australian team had a number of notable gold medal-winning performances. Individual achievements included swimmer Siobhan Paton's six gold medals in the 200m SM14 individual medley, and S14 100m freestyle, 50m butterfly, 50m backstroke, 200m freestyle, and 50m freestyle. She set nine world records in the process.

Tim Sullivan topped the track and field medal tally with five gold medals. Sullivan won three gold medals in the T38 200m, 100m, and 400m events, and won two gold medals in relay events alongside Darren Thrupp, Adrian Grogan and Kieran Ault-Connell (T38 4X400m and 4X100m races). The top performing female track and field athlete was Lisa Llorens, who won three gold medals from the F20 high jump, long jump and T20 200m. Llorens also won a silver medal in the T20 100m. Other track medallists included Neil Fuller won two golds in the T44 200m, and 400m events, as well as one individual bronze medal in the T44 100m. Fuller later combined with Tim Matthews, Stephen Wilson and Heath Francis to win another two gold medals in the T45 4X100m relay and T46 4X400m relay. Heath Francis went on to win a total of three golds and one silver after also winning an individual gold and silver in the T46 400m and T46 200m events respectively. Other track medallists were Amy Winters with two golds in the T46 200m and 100m T46, and a bronze in the T46 400m. Greg Smith also won three gold medals in the 800m, 5,000m and 1,500m T52 events.

In Cycling, Matthew Gray won two golds in the velodrome in the individual cycling mixed 1 km time trial LC1, and a gold in the mixed team sprint with Paul Lake and Greg Ball. Sarnya Parker and Tania Morda also won two golds in the women's cycling tandem 1 km time trial and women's tandem cycling individual pursuit open.[67]

Medal count

Australian cyclist Lyn Lepore shows a gold, silver and bronze medal from the 2000 Sydney Paralympic Games plus the diamond pin presented to her by BHP for winning gold
Australian cyclist Lyn Lepore shows a gold, silver and bronze medal from the 2000 Sydney Paralympic Games plus the diamond pin presented to her by BHP for winning gold

Main article: 2000 Summer Paralympics medal table

A total of 1657 medals were awarded during the Sydney games: 550 gold, 549 silver, and 558 bronze. The host country, Australia, topped the medal count with more gold medals and more medals overall than any other nation. Great Britain took the most silver medals, with 43, and tied Australia for the most bronze medals, with 47.[68]

In the table below, the ranking sorts by the number of gold medals earned by a nation (in this context a nation is an entity represented by a National Paralympic Committee). The number of silver medals is taken into consideration next and then the number of bronze medals.

  Host country (Australia)

RankNationGoldSilverBronzeTotal
1 Australia (AUS)*633947149
2 Great Britain (GBR)414347131
3 Canada (CAN)38332596
4 Spain (ESP)383038106
5 United States (USA)363934109
6 China (CHN)34221773
7 France (FRA)30282886
8 Poland (POL)19231153
9 South Korea (KOR)187732
10 Germany (GER)16413895
Totals (10 entries)333305292930

Participating delegations

One-hundred and twenty-three delegations participated in the Sydney Paralympics. Included among them was a team of "Individual Paralympic Athletes" from East Timor. The newly independent country had not yet established a National Paralympic Committee, so the International Paralympic Committee invited East Timorese athletes to compete at the games under the title of Individual Paralympic Athletes.[69]

Barbados, Benin, Cambodia, El Salvador, Laos, Lebanon, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mongolia, Palestine, Rwanda, Samoa, Turkmenistan, Vanuatu and Vietnam competed for the first time.[70]

Media coverage

Media coverage of the Paralympic Games has steadily increased over the years.

In the table below, the approximate number of accredited media at the Paralympic Summer Games from 1992 to 2008 has been listed.[71]

Approximate number of accredited media personnel at the Paralympics
Games location Number
Barcelona 1500
Atlanta 2000
Sydney 2400
Athens 3100
Beijing 5700

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation had approximately 200 staff in Sydney for the Olympic games, 6 of whom stayed on to cover the Paralympic games. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation aired four one-hour shows of the Paralympic Games after the event was finished.

TV New Zealand also aired four one-hour specials of the games post event.

In the United States, CBS broadcast a special called Role Models for the 21st Century: The Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games. The special was two hours long and aired in November.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) allowed viewers the opportunity to express their opinions towards the games. Comments were posted under the heading "Has the Sydney Paralympics been a success?" on their website. One viewer, Carole Neale from England, was cited as posting: "I am so disappointed to find the coverage limited to less than an hour per evening, on at a time when most people are still travelling home from work, and dismissed to BBC2, unlike the Olympics which had a prime time evening slot on BBC1 as well as constant live coverage".[58]

Views

Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, multiple Paralympic gold medallist for Great Britain, later said of the Sydney Games:

"Sydney 2000 will always hold a special place in the hearts of everyone who was there. The Aussies love their sport and they treated us simply as sportsmen and women. We weren't regarded as role models or inspirations, we were competitors. Some of us won gold medals, most didn't, but, hey, that's life. Sydney was phenomenal because, from day one, you felt there was something extraordinarily special in the air. Sydney was an athletic Disneyland, it was where magic happened. It probably marked the time and place when Paralympians genuinely became part of the Olympic Movement."[72]

See also

Bibliography

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Preceded byAtlanta Summer Paralympics Sydney XI Paralympic Summer Games (2000) Succeeded byAthens