The Top 10 Moments You Might Have Forgotten From The Sydney Olympics 20 Years On.
This week marks twenty years since the 2000 Sydney Olympics, where the best of Australia was showed off to the rest of the world.
We can expect plenty of archival footage and iconic flashbacks this week as the country celebrates the unbelievable sporting moments that gripped the nation two decades ago. But the Olympics were so much more than just sport.
So here at Australian Life we decided to highlight some moments that might be overlooked this week, for a much-needed dose of nostalgia.
THE DREAM WITH ROY & HG FEATURING FATSO THE WOMBAT
Airing at 11pm at night every night of the Sydney Olympics, The Dream with Roy Slaven and HG Nelson was not only was a hit in Australia, but a cult hit around the world. The hilarious program also spurned the unofficial Olympic mascot, Fatso the Fat-Arsed Wombat. Move over Olly and Millie! Incredibly, Fatso lives on and there is a small statue of him at Sydney’s Olympic Park at Homebush.
VANESSA AMOROSI SINGING HEROES LIVE FOREVER
Nikki Webster may have stolen the hearts of the world with her role at the Opening Ceremony, but she wasn’t the only one. It may have not generated as much publicity as Nikki’s performance, but Vanessa Amorosi’s performance of her huge, uplifting anthem Heroes Live Forever was incredible. Stands the test of time. Check it out on YouTube
With their unique uniforms the Sydney Olympic volunteers were unmistakable. But beyond the uniforms, it was their warm and friendly smiles and helpful nature that got so much praise not just in Australia, but around the world. The volunteers deserve their own moment this week.
ERIC THE EEL
Despite never seeing a full sze Olympic swimming pool before, that didn’t stop Equatorial Guinea’s Eric Moussambini having a red hot crack. Eric the Eel, as he came to be known, finished the 100m in a time of 1.52.72, the slowest time in the event’s history. His determination saw him became a global sensation overnight.
TANYA BLENCOWE HELPS SYDNEY WIN THE OLYMPICS
In 1993 in Monaco an 11-year-old Sydney girl Tanya Blencowe was part of Australia’s presentation to the International Olympic Committee that ultimately helped Sydney win the games. She told the IOC Sydney is a “friendly city where it doesn’t matter where you came from.” Her picture was on the front page of every newspaper around the country.
KYLIE MINOGUE ARRIVES AT THE CLOSING CEREMONY … ON A GIANT THONG
To top it off, the thongs was carried by lifeguards. It doesn’t get much more Aussie than that!
THE WINNER IS “SYDERNEY”
When Juan Antonio Samaranch announced “The Winner is Sydney” in Monaco with the now iconic pronunciation of “Sydnerney”, Australia erupted. And who could forget the man who was behind the bid, former NSW Premier John Fahey, jumping for joy. Sadly, Fahey passed away last week in Sydney. His efforts getting the Olympics for Sydney will always be remembered as the start of what was to become an incredible journey, and showcased Australia to the world.
THE HILLS HOIST GETS A RUN AT THE OPENING CEREMONY
The iconic washing line featured in the Opening Ceremony in the form of giant robots roaming the Olympic Stadium. It was just one small part of the spectacular Opening Ceremony that brought some of Australia’s much-loved icons to the rest of the world.
A REAL-LIFE FAIRYTALE
Consumed by the sporting highs and lows, no could have predicted a royal love story for the ages was also about to unfold at the Games when Mary Donaldson, a 28 year-old from Tassie, crossed paths with a lad named Fred at Sydney pub, the Slip Inn. Mary, now the Crown Princess of Denmark, stole the Danish royal’s heart in that serendipitous moment. Frederik and Mary have now been married for 15 years and are the proud parents to four children: Prince Christian, Princess Isabella and twins Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine.
AUSTRALIANS ARRIVE IN THEIR OLYMPIC TEAM UNIFORM AT THE OPENING CEREMONY
Designed in collaboration with Woolmark and Mambo, it was a far from traditional team uniform, with a more casual and comfortable aesthetic. Described as ochre, green and gold, the earthy colour tones were modified slightly for the Closing Ceremony to include a short-sleeved, loudly printed Mambo shirt, the same print that was also featured in the lining of the jackets worn at the Opening Ceremony. In its entirety, the uniform was designed to reflect the youthful and energetic Australian identity that the Sydney Olympic Organising Committee hoped to convey to the world throughout the Games.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Media and journalism has been in Luke Dennehy's blood ever since he started at the Herald Sun in Melbourne as an editorial assistant at 19 years of age. Luke worked for nearly 20 years at the Herald Sun reporting entertainment and lifestyle news before leaving in 2017 to pursue freelance opportunities. He also had many regular spots on radio and TV over the years, most recently on Melbourne radio station 3AW. A passionate advocate for Australian music, food, entertainment and business, he is excited to share some of those inspiring stories along the way.