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The conservation of one of life's most precious resources, water, has been a key factor in the design of all Sydney Olympic venues. All the design teams working on Olympic venues and facilities have been required to demonstrate that their designs incorporate multiple water conservation solutions.
One of the ways water wastage will be minimised within Olympic venues is the installation of more efficient appliances and fittings, including water-flow reduction valves and shower roses, dual-flush toilets, roof-fed rainwater tanks and drip irrigation systems.
Also, around the venues Australian native trees and shrubs, chosen not only for their aesthetic appeal but also for their drought resistant qualities, have been planted and mulched to further reduce water needs.
Most important has been the development of a dual water system at Sydney Olympic Park which supplies potable (i.e. drinkable) water for human consumption from the mains water supply through one set of pipes, and also supplies recycled storm water and sewage effluent for toilet flushing and irrigation through a parallel system of pipes. Sewage is first treated in an on-site wastewater reclamation plant, then a water treatment plant before being reused. Storm water is caught in runoffs designed to imitate the natural water cycles of creeks and wetlands, stored on-site, then treated in the water treatment plant before use
The Olympic flag has a plain white background with no border. In the centre are five rings forming two rows of three rings above and two below. The rings of the upper row are, from left to right, blue, black and red. The rings of the lower row are yellow and green.
The rings are thought to symbolise the five continents: Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and America. It is widely believed that the colours of the rings were chosen because at least one of them can be found in the flag of every nation, though this has never been confirmed as the intention of the designer.
The flag was presented by Games founder Baron de Coubertin at the 1914 Olympic Congress, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the founding of the IOC. It was first flown in Alexandria, Greece, but made its Olympic debut at the 1920 Antwerp Games. This well-worn flag was finally retired after the 1984 Games, and a new one flown at the 1988 Seoul Games.
At the Closing Ceremonies of the Olympic Games, the mayor of the current Olympic host city presents the flag to the mayor of the next host city. The flag is then kept in the town hall of the host city until the next Olympic Games.
The Olympic flame is a symbol carried over from the ancient Olympics, where a sacred flame burned at the altar of Zeus throughout competition. It was finally reintroduced at the 1924 Amsterdam Games, and again burned in 1932.
Carl Diem, chairman of the organising committee for the 1936 Berlin Games, proposed that the flame be lit in Greece and transported to Berlin via a torch relay. The idea was adopted, and continued at every Olympic Games since 1952.
The flame is lit at the ancient site of Olympia by the natural rays of the sun reflected off a curved mirror. It is lit at a ceremony by women dressed in robes resembling those worn in ancient times, who then pass it to the first relay runner.
* Badminton: First Double Gold is Possible in Sydney
* Baseball: No Surprises on Veteran Cuban Team
* Basketball: Russian Coach Loses Patience with Mikhailov
* Cycling: Zuelle Wins Opening Stage of the Tour of Spain
* Cycling: Dekker Wins Tour of Netherlands
* Football: Injuries Strike Australian Team
* Football: Kanu and Babayaro in Nigeria's Squad
* Hockey: Pakistan Bid to Regain Hockey Glory
* Rowing: Weather Well Tracked in Sydney
* Swimming: Popov Flexes his Muscles in Olympic Warm-up
* Tennis: Venus Williams Wins Fourth Straight
* Tennis: U.S. Open Survivor Sweepstakes up for Grabs
* Tennis: Swedes Norman and Enqvist Reach Final
* Tennis: Williams, Hingis, Sampras Advance in US Open
* Athletics: Johnson Out to Prove He's Unbeatable
* Athletics: Greene and Jones Stay on Course for Olympic Glory
* Athletics: Sotomayer Injured at Italy Meeting
* Table Tennis: March in Sydney May Lead to Joint Korean Teams
* Triathlon: World's Best set to Make Splash on Debut
* Weightlifting: Despondent Bulgaria sees Gold Only in Lifting
* Wrestling: Controversy over Greco-Roman Coach
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Wherever feasible, existing buildings are being reused and refitted for the Sydney Games. Approximately one-third of all sporting competitions, some nine out of 28, will be held in already existent venues — reducing the environmental impact by reducing the need for new construction. This philosophy also extends to the housing of Games organising and support staff — the current SOCOG Headquarters once housed a newspaper empire and the Media Village was an old hospital.
Wherever possible, recycled material has been incorporated into construction. For example 220,000 cubic metres of concrete and rubble from the demolished Homebush abattoir has been reused at the Homebush Bay site, while a further 40,000 cubic metres of earth excavated during construction has been reused for the creation of grassed or landscaped embankments at the Athletic Centre. During the construction of the new Sydney Showground (where indoor sports such as basketball, volleyball. handball and rhythmic gymnastics will be played during the Games), 94.67 per cent of all waste was recycled.
This reuse and recycle philosophy extends to the Olympic Overlay, which is the term used to describe the additional facilities and modifications organisers need to ready venues for the Games times crowds. Typically Overlay includes such things as additional seating, toilets, relocatable buildings, tents and marquees, fencing, staging for ceremonies and indoor sports, and additional building services such as power supply, lighting and air-conditioning. As Overlay is essentially a set of temporary requirements, a major objective of Sydney's procurement strategy is to have these component sponsored, hired or leased, rather than building them from scratch. This way, once the Games are finished, there will be no need for bulldozers to come in and raze the site, leaving tonnes of refuse, and most of the temporary facilities can be used again.
The best thing about Olympic ceremonies is the element of surprise.
In 1996, an estimated worldwide audience of 3.5 billion viewers was caught off-guard, momentarily transfixed by the events unfolding inside Olympic Stadium in Atlanta. United States swimming star Janet Evans was carrying the Olympic Flame as she ascended a long, steep ramp. Above her, his face suddenly bathed in light, stood "The Greatest" — 1960 Olympic boxing champion Muhammad Ali.
The crowd's applause grew to a deafening roar as Evans passed the torch to Ali, who held it aloft triumphantly. Visibly shaking from the effects of Parkinson's disease, his unheralded appearance at the Opening Ceremony would become a major highlight of the Atlanta Games.
Shrouded in secrecy and steeped in tradition, the Opening Ceremony, to many spectators, is anticipated almost as keenly as the athletic events. A simple choral tribute at the first Olympic ceremony following the 1896 Athens Games has evolved into a three-hour extravaganza signalling the start of the Sydney 2000 Games. Large-scale events bring large-scale expectations, and they traditionally have been met, if not surpassed, at each successive Games.
The Opening Ceremony is like a bold statement of intent. It's the best opportunity for the host city to showcase its cultural identity and lay out its vision for the Games before an international audience. While intended primarily as entertainment, the perfectly choreographed segments often give heroes their due or draw attention to a social issue. The Hollywood-style glamour cannot mask the underlying theme of tolerance and respect.
Amid the fireworks, laser shows and breathtaking spectacle, it's easy to forget the Opening Ceremony holds many of the Games' most important rituals. There's the arrival of the torch and the lighting of the cauldron, the raising of the Olympic flag and the taking of the oath. There's the parade of athletes, nation by nation, before the cheering crowds. The International Olympic Committee insists on such traditions, and few would dispute the dignified air they lend to the proceedings.
The Closing Ceremony is a different story. With the hard work behind them, competitors relax and enjoy a carnival-like atmosphere. In fact, at every Games since 1956, the parading athletes have broken ranks to march as one united team, strengthening the spirit of friendship and universality.
It also marks the host city's last turn on the global sporting stage and is used to full effect. Tying in wide-ranging aspects of the national identity and hoping to form a cohesive whole, the festivities might feature a song by the latest pop sensation followed by a dance routine from an indigenous group with lineage stretching back 30,000 years.
Between the two extravagant rituals serving as bookends on the Games, dozens of small but significant ceremonies occur. Arrival ceremonies, led by the mayor of the Olympic Village, welcome the athletes to their temporary homes. There, small gifts are exchanged as each country's flag is raised, and the athletes and officials cross cultural boundaries to mingle freely. Later come the medal ceremonies, the victors standing tearfully on the dais as the world silently awaits the first strains of a national anthem.
During the Closing Ceremony, the Olympic flag is passed to the next host city, to be enshrined in its town hall until the next chapter of Olympic history unfolds.
1997 — The Festival of the Dreaming
Artistic Director: Rhoda Roberts
When: 14 September to 6 October 1997
The Festival of the Dreaming, the first of its kind in Australia, celebrated the world's indigenous cultures, especially those of the Australian Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders. This was one of the largest and most representative indigenous arts festivals yet to be held in the world.
The Festival of the Dreaming promoted a greater awareness and appreciation of Australian indigenous heritage. This is one of the oldest known to man, but a culture which is constantly developing and evolving. The festival had 30 exhibitions, 14 dance and theatre productions, eight performance troupes, 50 films, a literature program, three concerts and a number of special commissions.
Most of the content was Australian, with additional representation from indigenous cultures from around the world, including the United States of America, Canada, Greenland, Korea, New Zealand, Western Samoa and Papua New Guinea. The festival explored the experience of indigenous people from its earliest origins to the impact of other cultures.
Many of the projects from The Festival of the Dreaming will tour nationally in 1998 and / or internationally in 1999 in subsequent Olympic Arts Festivals.
There are numerous examples of energy conservation throughout all the new Olympic venues. One of the shining examples is the natural ventilation in the Olympic Stadium — achieved by the use of oversized lift shafts, stairwells and escalator voids which draw in cool air while allowing warm air to escape. In addition, two 500-kilowatt gas co-generation engines supply a large share of the Stadium's energy requirements — these produce 40 per cent less harmful greenhouse gases than conventional mains electricity.
Air conditioning at the Aquatic Centre has been designed to cool only the air immediately surrounding the spectators, not around the pool — meaning less energy is needed for both cooling the venue and heating the pool. Similar systems are used in the SuperDome and 'Dome' exhibition hall in the Showgrounds.
The Novotel and Ibis Hotel Homebush Bay has Australia's largest solar hot water system on its roof. The 4002 square metre plant will supply 60 per cent of the Hotel's hot water requirements, reducing the total energy consumption by 15 per cent.
The use of renewable energy and energy efficiency in the Olympic Village make it an inspired example of world's best practice. Design elements of Village housing, in terms of orientation, shading, cross ventilation and energy efficient appliances, mean that energy demand is reduced by fifty per cent — and most of that energy is met by solar power. The Village is one of the largest solar powered communities in the world, generating one million kilowatt hours of electricity per year — the size of a small power station. Photovoltaic panels integrated into the roof of each house generate enough electricity to meet each dwelling's needs.
A number of the venues, including SOCOG Headquarters, purchase renewable energy as part of their energy supply. This electricity is generated by solar, wind, hydro or biomass and is distributed through the Sydney electricity grid.
The Games Motto
"Citius, altius, fortius" is a Latin phrase meaning "swifter, higher, stronger", which Baron de Coubertin borrowed from Father Henri Martin Dideon of Paris. Dideon was headmaster of Arcueil College, and used the phrase to describe the athletic achievements of students at the school. He had previously been at the Albert Le Grand school, where the Latin words were carved in stone above the main entrance.
"In the name of all competitors, I promise that we shall take part in these Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules that govern them, in the true spirit of sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and the honour of our teams."
Written by Baron de Coubertin, the oath is taken by an athlete from the host nation while holding a corner of the Olympic flag. The athletes' oath was first taken by Belgian fencer Victor Boin at the 1920 Antwerp Games. A judge from the host country also speaks the oath, with slightly different wording.
"The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph, but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered, but to have fought well."
There have been many permutations of this basic message throughout Games history, though this is the current creed which appears on the scoreboard during the Opening Ceremony. Baron de Cobertin adopted, and later quoted, this creed after hearing the Bishop of Central Pennsylvania, Ethelbert Talbot, speak at a service for Olympic athletes during the 1908 London Games.
In London for the Fifth Conference of Anglican Bishops, Talbot's exact words at the service on July 19, 1908 were: "The important thing in these Olympics is not so much winning as taking part."
SOCOG Environment Report — Turning Green into Gold: making an environmental vision a reality July 1999
The level of commitment to the environment contained in Sydney's Bid to host the 2000 Olympic Games presents a considerable challenge to SOCOG in its organisation of the Games. This Report provides a background to the emerging issue of sport, environment and the Olympic Games, then goes on to describe SOCOG's five-pronged strategy for meeting this challenge — corporate commitment, integration, partnerships, education and communication. The Report also contains progress reports on key issues, including venue operations, waste management, transport, merchandise and the torch, as well as on the community project Olympic Landcare, the research project Olympic Greenhouse Challenge and the Olympic Sponsors Environment Network.
The Sydney 2000 Olympic Games Integrated Waste Management Solution — a waste management and resource recovery strategy for the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games October 1998
Given Sydney's strong commitment to the environment, it is important that the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games is not just clean — it must be clean and green. This means that SOCOG has to take an integrated approach to waste management so as to minimise the amount of waste created, and reuse or reprocess as much of it as possible. The Sydney 2000 Olympic Integrated Waste Management Solution (PDF - file 1.4Mb ) provides a blueprint for Sydney to achieve this aim. The document provides the philosophical framework for the strategy, in terms of the underlying concepts of "100 per cent responsibility" and the perception of waste as a "secondary resource", then describes the five elements of the strategy — a waste management policy, a packaging and foodware specification, a generic waste plan, an education plan and data gathering and reporting procedures.
First Olympic Greenhouse Report June 1998
In recognition of the importance of greenhouse as an issue for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, SOCOG signed a Greenhouse Challenge Agreement with the Federal Government and commenced its Olympic Greenhouse Challenge project in November 1997. The project aims to estimate and measure greenhouse gas emissions from energy use, waste and transport, as well as the capacity of Olympic-related tree planting to absorb greenhouse gases. This First Olympic Greenhouse Report (PDF - file 6.3Mb) describes the project, scopes the issues and provides five case studies.
Environmental Guidelines for a Summer Olympic Games 1993
This document Environmental Guidelines (PDF - file 55Kb), prepared by the Sydney Bid Company, was submitted with Sydney's Bid to host the 2000 Olympic Games. It contains over 100 commitments in the five key areas of energy conservation, water conservation, waste minimisation, pollution avoidance and protection of the natural environment.
Putting on the show
On any given day during the Sydney Olympic Games, up to 500,000 spectators and workers will travel to Sydney Olympic Park, more than 100,000 to Darling Harbour, and large numbers of athletes, officials and spectators to satellite venues. During peak competition this will amount to more than 1.2 million individual trips.
this impact is significantly reduced, all spectators will use public transport to travel to and from venues. In fact, the ticketing system has been specially designed so that anybody purchasing a ticket to an Olympic event also receives a pass to travel free on Olympic transport routes for the entire day. Many of the buses set aside for this purpose will be powered by compressed natural gas (CNG) which is less polluting than petrol or diesel.
In an effort to reduce unnecessary travel time, all athletes will be housed in the Olympic Village adjacent to Olympic Park, and almost all competition venues are located within a half-hour driving radius of Sydney Olympic Park.
Sydney olympic Games accommodation
Frequently asked questions about accommodation
What percentage of hotel rooms has the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (SOCOG) booked? Will there be enough left for the general public?
SOCOG has an obligation to find around 25,000 hotel rooms to accommodate the many people involved in the staging of an Olympic Games — such as sporting officials, technical officials, broadcasters and press. Without agreeing to that obligation, Sydney would not have been awarded the Games.
SOCOG is contracting no more than 80 per cent of rooms in hotels, leaving an adequate supply available for other Games visitors. In terms of those hotels that have contracted rooms to SOCOG, an agreement has been reached on fair and equitable prices to ensure Olympic visitors do not have to pay inflated prices.
Hotels face no compulsion to contract with SOCOG, and many hotels have chosen not to do so.
If I am travelling to Sydney during the Games, can SOCOG suggest the names of hotels I might stay in?
SOCOG is responsible for providing accommodation for athletes, officials, media and sponsors. Unfortunately, SOCOG cannot help with booking personal accommodation. To book hotel accommodation, call the hotel of your choice direct or contact your National Olympic Committee for information about tickets and accommodation.
Alternatively, browse through the Sydney section of this website for helpful suggestions or contact the Australian Tourist Commission, which can help you plan your holiday in Australia.
What other types of accommodation will be available?
If you are open to accommodation other than hotels, a range of options are available. One alternative, officially managed by Ray White Real Estate, is the Residential Accommodation Program. Visitors can choose between Homestay (vacant, furnished premises) and Homehost (hosted accommodation).
Ansett and Traveland are constructing various packages that will include travel and accommodation. Also, many people plan to stay with friends and family.
Will last-minute hotel deals be available, as they were in Atlanta and Nagano?
It is impossible to say. From all indications, a lot of people will be in Sydney from both within Australia and overseas.
Are caravan parks booked out for the period of the Games?
SOCOG has agreements with four parks — including two in western Sydney, where very limited accommodation has been confirmed for officials. It is possible the owners will allow reservations for Games-time. For further information on caravan parks in Sydney, contact any NRMA, RACQ or RACV travel centre.
Will the cost of staying in Sydney be higher during the Games?
If you have been informed by a hotel or motel that they will charge much more for their rooms during Games — time, SOCOG staff are keen to know. Please contact SOCOG with the following information:
the name and address of the hotel or motel,
the dates you stayed at the hotel or motel,
what you were charged and the fee indicated prior to your Games—time stay.
This information will be followed up by SOCOG.
I have a property that I want to lease out during the Games. Who do I need to contact?
Contact Ray White Real Estate, which manages the Residential Accommodation Program on behalf of SOCOG. They can advertise your home to people who will visit Sydney during the Olympic Games. If you would like to lease your home, or receive further information, the Ray White Sydney 2000 Residential Accommodation Hotline for Australians is 1 300 656 650. Overseas visitors should call +61 2 9262 3700.
Is anyone organising special travel/ticket packages for interstate visitors?
Ansett (the official Sydney 2000 Games airline) and Traveland (the official travel agent) are hoping to provide the opportunity for as many Australians as possible to fly to the event. Details of those packages will be announced soon. To find out more about the packages or to register your interest, contact Traveland on 132 002.
No, the bed tax has not affected the number of rooms available in the CBD during the Olympic Games. However, many hotels in the CBD had placed names on a waiting list for reservations since Sydney won the Bid and now are fully booked from those wait — listed reservations. It is possible some CBD hotels will release a limited number of rooms as the Games draw near.
Guide to accommodation in Sydney
Sydney is ready to welcome visitors to the 2000 Olympic Games, offering value for money, excellent service and the warm welcome for which Sydney is renowned.
For overseas visitors to Sydney, the National Olympic Committee (NOC) in each country appoints an operator, or a general sales agent, to package accommodation, tickets, transport and tours. Overseas tourists planning to head to Australia for the Sydney 2000 Games should contact their country's NOC. For help, consult http://www.olympic.org/family/noc/noc_list.html.
For interstate visitors, limited accommodation will be available in hotels. Other options will include motels, recreation centres, backpacker lodges, camping grounds, rented houses or perhaps relatives. Free travel on the Olympic Transport Network extends to regions surrounding Sydney, meaning visitors can better afford to stay among the vineyards of the Hunter Valley, on the beaches of Wollongong or in the forests of the Blue Mountains.
Our Accommodation Program negotiates agreements to ensure hotel-room costs during the Olympic Games are fair and reasonable. It is not a booking service for interstate and overseas visitors, but is solely responsible for looking after the pre-Games and Games-time accommodation needs of the Olympic Family, except athletes.
That includes International Olympic Committee members and staff, other Organising Committee officials, International Sporting Federations, NOCs, dignitaries, media, sponsors, technical officials, extra team officials and Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games workers.
The Rotary Club of Sydney, together with several other service organisations, ethnic community groups and churches, has set up the Athletes' Family Host Program to provide complimentary bed and breakfast for the families of athletes. The program is a nonprofit initiative aimed at involving all quarters of Sydney's culturally diverse community in hosting relatives and supporters of Games participants.
With hotel rooms expected to be in peak demand, cruise ships berthed in the harbour to accommodate corporate guests will add to the festive atmosphere.
It's not all hotels and ocean liners, though. Australians also can become involved in the spirit of the Sydney 2000 Games. Wholly Australian-owned Ray White Real Estate is managing the Residential Accommodation Program to provide private rental accommodation for visitors to the Games. Two types of accommodation will be offered under the program:
Homestay provides vacant, furnished premises to be let on a short-to-medium-term basis to sponsors, guests and groups associated with the preparation and coordination of Olympic events.
Homehost is where the normal occupier remains in residence and provides guests with bed and breakfast.
The Ray White Sydney 2000 Residential Accommodation Hotline for Australians is 1 300 656 650. Overseas visitors should phone +61 2 9262 3700.
Global Diva announced for Hemispheres festival
28 July 2000
The sensational international performer, Angelique Kidjo is set to join the line-up of Hemispheres, the Sydney 2000 Olympic Arts Festival's two-day celebration of music from around the globe at Centennial Park on Saturday 9 and Sydney 10 September, Festival Artistic Director, Leo Schofield announced today.
An international phenomenon known for her unforgettable live performances, Angelique Kidjo and her band, with their distinctive blend of Afro-American rhythms, moves and grooves, will headline the bill on Saturday September 9. Having performed many sell out tours here, the most recent to promote the release of her fifth album to date 'Oremi', Angelique Kidjo is well known to Australian audiences.
Mr Schofield also announced the addition of two impressive local acts — David Bridie and iOTA to the Hemispheres line-up.
After 15 years in the business David Bridie's recent debut album Act Of Free Choice received critical acclaim. Bridie, is renowned as a producer, soundtrack composer and central figure in local Melbourne acts Not Drowning Waving and My Friend The Chocolate Cake.
"An intoxicating sensory experience that transcends music. To call it a concert hardly seems adequate... The world is ready for you now Mr. Bridie."(The Australian — 26/6/00)
iOTA rose to prominence last year with Triple J airplay of Change the lead track from his eclectic debut album The Hip Bone Connection. iOTA has performed two sell out tours of the country and is a rising star in the local music scene.
"Sydney's iOTA has created one of the most assured, eclectic and unusual debut albums of the year...cross reference: Lenny Kravitz, Dave Matthews Band, Tom Jones, The Truth." 8/10 (Sun Herald 8/8/99)
Hemispheres will be staged at the beautiful Mackay and Mission Fields areas of Centennial Park on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 September, the weekend prior to the Opening Ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.
Sensational international line-up for Arts Festival's Hemispheres
16 June 2000
Juan de Marcos' Afro-Cuban All Stars, Natacha Atlas and Transglobal Underground to head all-star line-up at festival's biggest event.
Sydney 2000 Olympic Arts Festival Artistic Director Leo Schofield has announced details of Hemispheres, the festival's two-day celebration of music from around the globe.
The event, the biggest in the festival program, will be staged at the beautiful Mackay and Mission Fields areas of Centennial Park on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 September, the weekend prior to the Opening Ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. Click here to buy Hemispheres tickets.
Sixty thousand people are expected to attend this landmark concert event which will star more than 40 contemporary, Latin, world, funk, dance and blues acts from Australia and overseas performing simultaneously on two stages, with some of the world's best-known DJs and dance acts appearing under a huge big top.
Included in the extraordinary line-up of talent from around the world are Juan de Marcos' Afro-Cuban All Stars, featuring members of the band from the Oscar-nominated film and record Buena Vista Social Club. This extraordinary gathering of some of Cuba's most brilliant musicians appears in Australia for the first time for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Arts Festival.
Their Hemispheres appearance kicks off an Australian tour presented by Andrew McKinnon which includes Brisbane, Adelaide, Melbourne and a return to Sydney to perform at the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall on 18 September.
"Hemispheres once again demonstrates that the Olympic Games are a magnificent draw-card, a unique and potent magnet for performers", Mr Schofield said. "Hemispheres superbly complements and further strengthens our entire festival program and reflects the truly international nature of this once-in-a-lifetime global celebration".
The full Hemispheres line-up:
Juan de Marcos' Afro-Cuban Allstars
Ali Farka Toure
Asian Dub Foudation
Dimitri from Paris
Wicked Beat Sound System
Mara ! & Martensia Choir
Full Fathom Five
Passi Jo, Tchico Tchicaya & Warako Musica
Systa BB & Sam G
Cafe of the Gate of Salvation
Stella One Eleven
Epizo Bangoura & African Express
Dwight "Chocolate" Escobar
Building the stage
Our green venues
Most of the new purpose-built Olympic sporting venues — being constructed in Sydney Olympic Park at Homebush Bay and throughout Sydney's western suburbs — have been designed to maximise energy efficiency, conserve water, and preserve indoor air quality. All are constructed from environmentally friendly materials, using building processes specially designed to minimise waste
Olympic Arts Festival opens
20 August 2000
SYDNEY — In the chill before day break, a crowd assembled on the beach of La Perouse near Botany Bay. At first light, they witnessed the performance of Tubowgule (pronounced ty-bah-gule) or The Meeting of the Waters.
This was the first of three performances in a day-long indigenous Australian welcoming ceremony, ushering in the Sydney 2000 Olympic Arts Festival.
The historic beach, steeped in significance as the first point of contact for Australia's original inhabitants and European settlers, provided a stage for Aboriginal singer and actor Deborah Cheetham.
Local indigenous musicians playing traditional instruments around a campfire accompanied her haunting tones. A raft fashioned from branches and leaves was ceremoniously lit offshore signalling a dramatic end to the first performance.
The second took place at noon in the Botanical Gardens of central Sydney. The gardens were once a place of male initiation for the Kayimai (now known as Manly) people.
Treated to a lively display of ceremonial dance, spectators were submerged in the magical rhythms of painted performers and the raw sounds of indigenous Australian instruments. This ceremony paid respect to the ancestral traditions in ceremonial performance of dance, body painting, storytelling and sculpture.
As dusk set in, the third and most spectacular of the welcoming ceremonies came alive on the steps of the Sydney Opera House at Bennelong Point.
In the presence of Aboriginal elders, the air reverberated with the deep, melodic dirge of the didgeridoo and was permeated with the sweet aroma of burning eucalyptus from 44 gallon drums.
This performance of Tubowgule fused ancient and modern indigenous cultures in a banquet of dreamlike dance, music and traditional singing, as different saltwater clans came together in the Opera House forecourt.
Stephen Page, the artistic director and choreographer of Sydney's Bangarra Dance Theatre directed the fabulous, climactic finale, echoing the traditions of Sydney's original saltwater people.
The three welcoming ceremonies showcased the spiritual richness of Australia's indigenous culture, a perfect way to usher in what promises to be a unique and electric Arts Festival.
Consider the Sydney 2000 Olympic Arts Festival welcomed.