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How the world's media viewed the Sydney Olympics

How the world's media viewed the Sydney Olympics

Bill Bryson from The Times (London) said:
"These Games will go down as being one of the most successful events on the world stage... Congratulations, Australia. You did it. From start to finish, it's been wonderful...The Games would never be - simply couldn't be - as good again...Considering all the costs and risks, Sydney can consider itself very lucky if, as forecast, it manages to come away with a small profit. Montreal, as is often noted, is still paying for its Games almost a quarter of a century after they finished. One thing that seems increasingly possible is that we may never see the likes of these Games again... So it seems entirely possible that Sydney will stand as a pinnacle for the modern Olympics - a time when the largest number of people enjoyed the biggest Games in the most cheerful circumstances possible. Personally, I don't think we will ever see another social and sporting spectacle to match it."

Robyn Norwood of the LA Times wrote:
"By now you know Australians are friendly, but the other day a young man got on an elevator with me and offered a bite of his half-eaten muffin. "Plenty for two," he said, extending his breakfast. I've always thought Southerns and the Irish were the nicest people on earth, but I have a new winner."

Bill Plaschke of the LA Times said:
"The startlingly friendly people here didn't happen. Nobody acts this nice. Commoners can't steal the Olympic show with a smile and a self-effacing laugh, can they? ... Volunteers sang to fans through megaphones. Fans sang with other fans on trains....Through already offering a drop-dead gorgeous city and well-run Games, the Sydneysiders also apparently considered it their duty to invite everyone inside and take their coats."

James Mossop of the Electronic Telegraph (London) said:
"Matilda has waltzed, Kylie has sung and the party at the greatest sporting show on earth is just about over. The Games of the New Millennium have been such a success that any city considering bidding for future Olympics must be wondering how it can reach the standards set by Sydney...'Sensational' is a word that should be used sparingly but it comes close to describing precisely what the Aussies have achieved with Sydney 2000... while veterans of several past Olympic Games are united to a man that Sydney has provided the best ever. Clearly, the 2000 hosts learned from Atlanta but what Australia has is a vibrant, enthusiastic population with a sense of civic pride. On Thursday, the traffic will stop for a ticker-tape parade to honour the volunteers. These are the people who made the Games work, offering cheerfulness, seemingly, at every corner."

Jack Todd on the Montreal Gazette suggested that:
"Sydney was both exceptional and the best. Perhaps the IOC should quit while it's ahead. Admit there can never be a better Olympic Games, and be done with it."

John Powers of the Boston Globe:
"These were the Olympics nobody wanted to have end...They bought a record 91% of the tickets, and 46,000 Mick and Sheila Dundees volunteered to drive buses, monitor metal detectors and say a cheery G'day....The Aussie fans were models of decorum and sportsmanship, especially after the obnoxious U-S-A chanters who rubbed the world's face in their victories in Atlanta...These Olympics were a model for the new millennium and the new Olympic century. Sydney had vowed that its Games would be for the athletes and they were all of that...."

Mark Lander from the New York Times said:
"The last two weeks have been a marvelous showcase for Australia's accomplishments in engineering and technology. Whether it is the soaring Olympic stadium, the efficient railroad system or the modern wireless telephone network, Australia is a force to be reckoned with."

George Vecsey from the New York Times said:
"The headline in the paper read, "47,000 - meaning the volunteers - and that was right. The Games were great, but the Australians were even greater."..."I asked directions down at Darling Harbour the other day," a friend told me. "A lady closed down her shop and walked me around the corner because she was afraid I'd miss the street."

Alan Abrahamson of the LA Times said:
"No city could have provided a more beautiful backdrop for the Games or friendlier volunteers - 46,000 of them - and no city embraced the Games the way they were embraced here. About 7 million tickets, a record 92% of the total available, were sold...A party atmosphere prevailed. "People will be able to duplicate these sort of facilities," said Syed Shahid Ali, the IOC member from Pakistan. "But they will not be able to duplicate this atmosphere."

Alan Abrahamson again:
"Instead of pins, I'm taking home a bunch of memories from one of the greatest months of my life. To begin, Sydney is beautiful. I wish each of you the chance to go to Circular Quay, to look out at the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House and the green-and-yellow ferries chugging away. The planet does not afford many nicer views....Would we dare in the States - they did on 'The Dream' - air Greco-Roman wrestling accompanied only by the sensuous sounds of Barry White and the Love Unlimited Orchestra? Somebody, please: Get this crew a gig in the States."

Jere Longman from the New York Times wrote:
"More than anything, these Games restored a common touch and sense of fun to an Olympic movement viewed by many to have been made inaccessible by an aloof, arrogant leadership. Street parties here were the most vibrant, some said since the 1976 Summer Games in Montreal. 'A friend of mine said that Sydney has raised the bar from a high jump to a pole vault,' said Jacques Rogge (IOC member who coordinated the Sydney Games). It was a unique atmosphere. People love sport. They cheered all the athletes. They stayed for the medal ceremonies even if no Australian athletes were involved. The atmosphere of the city itself was incredible. Compared with Atlanta, there were no transportation problems, no technology problems, no overcommercilisation. And the home team did splendid. Close to 60 medals for a nation of 19 million - that is outstanding."

The Straits Times (Asia) reported:
"The 2000 Summer Olympics were rendered in extremes. There were no subtle dapples of the artist's brush. The sunshine was bright, the venues were glistening, the grandstands were full, the spectators were sporting, the trains ran on time, the computers didn't crash, and nobody lost their temper. These were the Games as Disney might put them on, with no trash on the ground and everyone in high spirits."

Chan Tse Chueen of The Straits Times:
"The organisers received the formal commendation for the Games, already pronounced a success by most of the world's media, with aplomb."

Kyodo World Service:
"It is hard to know just what Takahashi (women's marathon champion) was thinking when four-metre tall characters from the Australian television program "Bananas in Pajamas" entered the stadium at the end of the 'Parade of Icons."

Leeroy Betti of The Japan Times:
"They came, they saw and some even conquered, but Sydney was the undisputed winner as the Games drew to a close Sunday and the last medals were being decided. These Olympics will be exalted as the best Games ever.... Sports Illustrated, perhaps joking, perhaps not, has put in print that Australia should be made the Games' permanent home. The organisation of the Games worked because Sydney and Australia are still young and small enough that almost everyone could get involved. Every second person you met had a mom volunteering t the main stadium, hold flowers for Marion Jones, directing foreign visitors from atop lifeguard towers or handing tissues to Cathy Freeman's tearful family... It has been suggested that the Sydney Games have limited the cities that the IOC will consider in the future because major cash cow NBS, suffering bad TV ratings in the US because of the time difference, is threatening to slash its offer or TV rights to the next Olympics. The IOC will scratching its head over what to do after Australia, a modern nation capable of innovations like flawed, but useful, environmental standards for the future Games went off like the nation's sports carnival, which stops a one-horse town.

Peter Fitzsimons of the (British) Electronic Telegraph:
"..the reception it seems to have received from an international audience and simply staggering brilliance with which we pulled the whole thing off! ... I'm here to tell you these Olympics have been a stunning success! But look, don't think this is just me raving on. One of the most influential sports writers in the world , Rick Reilly, of Sports Illustrated, devoted an entire column last week to mounting the argument that Sydney should keep the Games for perpetuity: that it 'was the most beautiful city in the world', and made 'Paris look like Lubbock, Texas'. He also raved about the hospitality, how efficiently everything worked, the sheer Aussie panache, and everything else Down-Under-delicious he could think of.... It's been about throwing a party, inviting the world, and having the singular pleasure of watching it have a wonderfully good time, and perhaps seeing ourselves through the eyes of those who were seeing us for the first time. Happily, we liked, nay loved, what they told us they saw."

Kathy Marks from the Independent (UK) said:
"If there is such a place as seventh heaven, that is where Australia is dreamily floating today after receiving the ultimate accolade from the president of the IOC, Juan Antonio Samaranch, who last night proclaimed the Sydney Games the best ever staged."

CBC Sports Online said:
"From the infectious cheers, beautiful venues, and Green initiatives, any host city that has to follow Sydney's wake has their work cut out for them. But for now, "bye from oz," "See ya in Athens."

The Irish Times said:
"It was a breathtaking climax for a city that has revelled in the most successful Olympics ever staged."

Simon Barnes of The Sunday Times (London):
"Excuse me if the coarseness offends. But Australia had the guts to debunk the twaddle that goes with the Olympic Games, to take away the Pomposity and celebrate concepts that mean far more to humanity than banalities about world peace. That is to say: humour... These were 17 days in which they Showed The World. After seven years of back-biting, cynicism and terror, the greatest sporting event the world has been seen took place and it was wonderful."

Hugh McIlvanney of The (London) Sunday Times wrote:
"The hosts have brought so much generosity of spirit to the staging of these Olympics - with seemingly every citizen exhibiting a warm commitment to making the rest of the human race welcome in this spectacular and vibrant city - that it should not be romantic folly to hope that one of the residual benefits will be an increased enthusiasm for fostering unity among Australians. Another legitimate hope is that the example set by Sydney 2000 will reinvigorate the Olympics, which came here sorely in need of being spiritually uplifted. Everything said and written in praise of how brilliantly the Australians have succeeded in restoring an atmosphere of festival to the Games is fully deserved... Being deprived of involvement in Sydney 2000 would have been severe punishment indeed - even for a spectator. These have been the Games of a lifetime, certainly of mine."

Queen Elizabeth in a letter to Sir William Deane (Australian Governor-General) said:
"The result was a tribute to all that is best in Australia." Prime Minister John Howard told parliament the country could be proud of the Olympics. "These Games have brought enormous credit to the entire nation."

Randy Harvey of the LA Times said:
"IOC executives here have remarked that their daily 8.30am coordination sessions with organisers in Atlanta routinely lasted at least 90 minutes as they tried to solve problems, while those sessions here sometimes have taken less than 10 minutes. The true champions, however were the people. Usually by the end of the of the second week of an Olympics, It's apparent that the locals have had as good a time as anyone at their party but now they can't wait for everyone to go home. That wasn't true here. Sydneysiders remained perfect hosts to that end. Acts of random kindness were epidemic. My favourite concerned two photographers who barely missed their train from Olympic Park back to the city. An attendant at the station called his boss, said he would be out of touch for 45 minutes and drove the photographers to their hotel. "Remember, these are the Friendly Games," blared the announcement about every 10 minutes from the Olympic Park station public address system. "We are friendly people. Remember as you visit the park to say, G'day.' "

This page last updated: Saturday 20 March 2010

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