- 2000 Summer Olympics opening ceremony
The Opening Ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games was described by
IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranchas the most beautiful ceremony he had ever seen. Held on the evening of Friday 15 September 2000, the Opening Ceremony represented everything Australian, from sea creatures and flora/fauna to lawn mowers and other Australian cultural icons. The Opening Ceremony had a cast of 12,687 people who took part in the ceremony.Information given by Ric Birch, Director of Ceremonies, during an interview at the end of the official DVD of the 2000 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony] . Consistent with normal major production management together with co-ordination of the ceremony with over 12,000 performers, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra mimed the music on the night. This was to insure against the forecast rain and windy conditions. The music was pre-recorded in the preceding weeks under studio conditions ensuring the flawless quality of the music broadcast around the world on this night.
Hosted by Channel Seven's newsreader
Chris Bath, while seven months pregnant with her first child, live on stage in the stadium. Featured various performances, including "Waltzing Matilda" with John Williamson.
The Opening Ceremony began with a tribute to the heritage of the
Australian Stock Horse, with the arrival of a lone rider, Steve Jefferys, whose Australian Stock Horse, "Ammo", reared. Steve Jefferys then cracked his stockwhip and a further 120 riders and their Stock Horses entered the Stadium and performed intricate steps, including forming the five Olympic Rings, to the music of Bruce Rowlandwho composed a special Olympics version of the main theme which he had composed for the 1982 film "The Man from Snowy River".A giant banner, painted by Sydney artist Ken Done, said "G'Day" to the world.
The Australian National Anthem,
Advance Australia Fair, was sung by both Human Nature and Julie Anthony. The performance is still regarded by many worldwide as the greatest rendition of a National Anthem at any Olympic Ceremony.
Deep Sea Dreaming
This segment celebrates Australia's affinity with the sea with the stadium floor being turned into a beach setting.
Nikki Websterarrives in beachwear and bask in the light. She seems to fall asleep on the beach and drifts off into a dream. The performers represent the sea and the various aquatic fauna appear and move around the arean floor. Nikki Webster is then hoisted up in the air by over head wires and swims with the sea creatures. Other swimmers are also present, being coached (on a large screen) by Australian swimming coach Laurie Lawrence. Elena Kats-Chernincomposed the music for this section.
This segment commemorated Australia's Aboriginal past, which dates back thousands of years. A special welcome was made to countries competing at the Games. An Aboriginal elder guided Nikki Webster through the segment. Narration for the segment was by Australian Indigenous actor
This segment show cases the Australian outback, wildlife and flora. It begins with various fire performers (jugglers, breathers) moving across the stadium floor, symbolising the advance of a
bushfire. In the aftermath, performers representing the flora stir and, as the land is replenished with water and life, the stadium floor is filled with performers dressed in costumes representing various flowers — Australia's distinctive wild flowers such as the Golden Wattle(Australia's national flower), the Waratah(State flower of N.S.W), the Sturt's Desert Pea, Water Liliesand Eucalyptflowers among others are represented by performers. The fauna, which are represented by 7 huge paintings by Jeffrey Sammuels, are then revealed, depicting the indigenous animal life in Australia. The dream like music heard during this sequence was composed and conducted by Australian composer, Chong Lim. The flowers once more are illuminated before moving out of the stadium.
This segment show cases the European settlement in Australia, and the development of Australia into a rural and civic country.
This segment begins with the arrival of Captain
James Cookand crew, with bicycles to represent his ship, HM Bark "Endeavour", during Captain Cook's exploration of the Australian east coast. The performer acting as Captain Cook lights a fire work to start the segment. A caged fake rabbit is also shown aboard the ship.
Then a multitude of performers dress as the iconic Australian
bushranger Ned Kelly(with costumes based on a painting of Ned Kelly by artist Sir Sidney Nolan) come onto the stadium floor, with other symbolic items of the outback such as corrugated iron and storm water tanks present. A mechanical horse like vehical is also present, it changes into a wind mill. Cultural items such as woodcutting and whip cracking are also showcased. Tap dancers are also present in this section, dancing on the corrugated iron sheets, with umbrellasmade up to look like giant cogs and wheels to represent the industrial growth of Australia. The tempo changes as Australia's rural aspects are introduced. In the middle of the stadium floor, a shed is constructed from the corrugated iron sheets. Out of the shed comes a unique representation of sheep, an important livestock. The sheep are represented by performers in cardboard boxes, that move along with the music. Australian suburbiais then represented as the performers emerge from the cardboard boxes with Victa lawn mowersto form the Olympics Rings. The giant mechanical horse then makes another appearance, before Nikki Webster, gives an apple to it. The mechanical horse neighs to signify the end of the segment.
The Arrivals segment of the ceremony celebrated Australia's
multiculturalismaspects introducing each continent with a float and costumessymbolising each continent. The segment starts with the African continentand its representatives, dancing into the stadium wearing Blackcostumes. Then a splash of Yellowentails the arrival of the Asian immigrants into Australia, lead by two yellow Chinese Lion dancers. Europeis introduced by the colour Green, and further adds to the growing party on the stadium floor. Then another change of music and a splash of Red symbolising the arrival of people from the Americas. Finally, the people from the various Pacific Islands, with an emphasis on New Zealandcome into the stadium in vivid Bluecostumes. The five floats all manoeuver into positions to represent their respective coloured rings. By the crescendo of the segment, four of the floats (Asia, America, Europe and the Pacific Islands) surround the African float as the performers from all the represented continents rush out from the middle to form the Australiacontinent. The performers stand with arms out reached towards the audience, forming the coast line of Australia and thus symbolising Australia's welcoming arms to people from all over the world. Then many children dress in the Olympic colours flood into the arena and form a solid shape of Australia, as the performers from the sequence before leave the performance floor. Nikki Webster then performs the song "Under Southern Skies" with 5 people representing each continent standing with her, as the children form a large reprentation of the Southern Cross constellation with their lanterns.
A New Era and Eternity
In the middle of the stadium floor, on the central float stands
Adam Garcia, who starts off tap dancing, inviting more performers onto the stadium. More dancers file into the stands where the audience are sitting and also join in with performance. Several cherry picker cranes are also in the centre with the floats and start to slowly rise up with the crescendo of the music. The dancers symbolise the workers building a new Australia for the future. Then all the dancers in the stand rush out onto the stadium floor to join their fellow dancers. Some of the dancers hold square sheets of steel, that they both dance on and also hold in their hands to also reflect light out as they dance. By the finale of this segment, large steel frames rise from each float to form a tall structure. In the middle are Nikki Webster and the aboriginal elder, who look wonderously out into the audience, surveying the workers. Then as the close of the presentation comes nearer, the performers from the other segments all come out and join in with the dancers already dancing.
A large representation of the
Sydney Harbour Bridgecomposed of sparklers is set off in the middle of the stadium with the word " Eternity" shown in the middle of the bridge.
ydney 2000 Olympic Band
A massed Millennium Marching Band of 2000 musicians performed both Australian and international classics. The band consisted of 1000 Australian musicians, with the remaining 1000 musicians being from other countries around the world. The massed band was so large that six conductors were required for the segment. The band members wore
Driza-Boneriding coats which had been especially modified for the band members. ["The Man from Snowy River: Arena Spectacular" programme] The band was the only live sound creator of the night; all other sounds, including the tap dancers' taps, were pre-recorded.
Parade of Nations
Once the Sydney 2000 Olympic Band made their grand introduction, the Parade of Nations began.A record 199 nations entered the stadium, the only missing IOC member being
Afghanistan(which was suspended due to the Talibanregime's prohibition against practicing any kind of sports). Most remarkable was the entering of North and South Koreaas one team, using a specially designed unification flag: a white background flag with a blue map of the Korean Peninsula; the two teams would compete separately, however. Four athletes from East Timoralso marched in the parade of nations. Although the country-to-be had no National Olympic Committee then, they were allowed to compete under the Olympic Flag.
Countries were marched in alphabetical order starting with Albania through to Zimbabwe and ending with Australia
Dare To Dream
John Farnhamand Olivia Newton-Johnwalked among the Olympic competitors and sang the song "Dare to Dream", which was especially written for the occasion.
Sydney 2000( SOCOG) - Michael Knight. President of the International Olympic Committee- Juan Antonio Samaranch.The Governor-General, Sir William Deane, opened the games. This was the first occasion that an Olympics held in a Commonwealth nation was not opened by the monarch or member of the Royal Family. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/275833.stm] It was also the first Olympics since Melbourne in 1956 not to be opened by the head of state.
The Olympic Flag
Olympic Flagwas carried around the arena by eight former Australian Olympic champions: Bill Roycroft, Murray Rose, Liane Tooth, Gillian Rolton, Marjorie Jackson, Lorraine Crapp, Michael Wendenand Nick Green. During the raising of the Olympics Flag, the Olympic Hymnwas sung by the Millennium Choir of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia.
The opening ceremony concluded with the lighting of the
Olympic Flame. Former Australian Olympic champion Herb Elliottbrought the Olympic Flame into the stadium. Then, celebrating 100 years of women's participation in the Olympic Games, former Australian women Olympic champions: Betty Cuthbertand Raelene Boyle, Dawn Fraser, Shirley Strickland(later Shirley Strickland de la Hunty), Shane Gouldand Debbie Flintoff-Kingbrought the torch through the stadium, handing it over to Cathy Freeman. Cathy Freeman then climbed a long set of stairs towards a circular pond. She then walks into the middle of the water and ignites the cauldron around her feet in a circle of fire. The planned spectacular climax to the ceremony was delayed by the technical glitch of a computer switch which malfunctioned, causing the sequence to shut down by giving a false reading. This meant that the Olympic flame was suspended in mid-air for about four minutes, rather than immediately rising up a water-covered ramp to the top of the stadium. When the cause of the problem was discovered, the program was overridden and the cauldron continued its course, and the ceremony concluded with a spectacular fireworks display.
Opening Ceremony music information
It came to light during August of 2008 that the
Sydney Symphonymimed its performance during the opening ceremony to tracks prerecorded by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. [http://www.smh.com.au/news/music/sydney-olympics-faked-opening-too/2008/08/26/1219516425771.html]
The stadium's English-language announcer for the Opening Ceremony was Australian actor
The wife of
Juan Antonio Samaranch, the IOC President, was seriously ill and was not able to accompany her husband to the Olympics (she died the following day, from cancer). Therefore, Samaranch invited former Australian Olympic Champion swimmer, Dawn Fraser, to accompany him at the ceremony. Dawn Fraser also explained some of the cultural references in the display section to him.
The young girl singer, who featured throughout much of the early part of the opening ceremony, was
Nikki Webster. Other musical performers taking part during the opening ceremony were Olivia Newton-Johnand John Farnham(who sang the duet "Dare to Dream" while walking among the athletes), Vanessa Amorosi(who sang "Heroes Live Forever" while a huge cloth was lowered down to cover the athletes - with sporting images and the image of a white dove of peace then being displayed on the cloth) and Tina Arena(who sang "The Flame").
even Network: Australia
Seven NetworkAustralia's live and exclusive broadcast of the Opening Ceremony began at 6.30pm ( AEDST) with half an hour of preparations live at the stadium. The official countdown concluded at exactly 7.00pm. Hosts and commentators included Bruce McAvaney, Gary Wilkinsonand Sandy Roberts. The commentator for the Indigenous segment "Awakening" was Australian Indigenous actor and TV personality Ernie Dingo. The only cut to an ad-break was during the Marching Band segment.
NBC: United States
NBCcut the Tin Symphony segment out of its broadcast, plus the James Morrison portion of the Anthem segment.
TVNZ: New Zealand
TVNZviewers experienced a technical problem with their satellite feed during the "Prelude" and "Welcome" segments and therefore did not see the Countdown live.
BBC: United Kingdom
BBCTelevision covered the ceremony from 9am BST. BBC1 showed the coverage until 1.00 when the coverage moved to BBC2 due to the overrun coverage. Steve Riderand Sue Barkerhosted and Barry Davieswas the commentator for the ceremony.
* [http://www.gamesinfo.com.au/postgames/en/pg000486.htm Sydney Olympic Games Opening Ceremony] - The Official Report of the XXVII Olympiad
* [http://www.specialevents.com.au/archiveprev/sydney2000/opening.html Sydney Olympic Games Opening Ceremony] - Australian Special Events
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