I know it’s not Saturday, just go with me on this one.
This morning felt like a busy Saturday. Thousands upon thousands hit the water for their chance of catching a wave on current Southerly pulse. By far the most I’ve seen down there since last summer. Pics are from this morning. Took loads this arvo too but haven’t got around to editing just yet.
This morning being so crowded it reminded me of Super Saturday of the 2000 Olympics - Day 9 of competition, September 23rd. It was by far the largest and busiest day at the games. So so many people! Late in the afternoon our family sat in the park with a sea of supporters, of all nationalities anticipating the final swimming events, the opening night of athletics and women’s water polo final between AUS and USA. From what I recall it was damn hot, there was no shade and Streets Calippos (Ice blocks) were the only saviour.
Us Aussies were extremely excited for the men’s 1500m freestyle. We had high hopes for our boys Grant Hackett and Barcelona / Atlanta champion Kieran Perkins. The crowd roared as they dove in; even though we were a kilometre away and they had their heads semi submerged I reckon they could hear us. Go Aussie Go!! 14 min 48.33 s later, Hackett had swum the 30 laps of the pool and collected the gold medal, closely followed by Perkins for the silver. A fabulous achievement and the crowd was going bananas!! Such a fantastic atmosphere, I don’t think Sydney has come close to this buzz since.
We then hustled our way down Olympic Boulevard and up the windy Stadium Australia ramp. We took up our seats, high up in the bleachers but amazingly directly above the finish line. Brilliant seats they were for the mens and womens 100m metre finals. Out came the contenders for both races… showing off as they do. BANG off they go! Cameras flash, flash, flash around the stadium. If you blinked, you would have missed them and the race is won. 9.87sec Maurice Greene runs off around the stadium in victory, throwing one of his spikes up into the crowd. The women’s race isn’t so memorable… the winner has her gold taken away from her 9 years later after admitting to drug use :-(
The underdog Aussie girls won their water polo gold medal match with a last minute goal against the highly fancied American team. This unexpected result in what was the first ever Olympic water polo competition sends the hometown crowd crazy once more. Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi (We heard this a fair few times during those weeks 18 years ago).
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