The Olympic flag against a blue sky

Newscaf: 2000 Sydney Olympics

2000 Sydney Olympics: Announcement and Cathy Freeman Victory

Announcement, Opening Ceremony and Historic Cathy Freeman Victory
 Adam Blackshaw

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Juan Antonio Samaranch memorably announced on 24 September 1993 that Sydney would host the Games of the XXVII Olympiad in 2000. At their conclusion, in September 2000, he proclaimed them to be 'the best Olympic Games ever'.

Through footage from our Television News and Current Affairs Program (Newscaf), we look back at the announcement that Sydney had won the right to host, the opening ceremony on 15 September 2000 and Cathy Freeman's historic victory in the 400 metre athletics final on 25 September.

'The winner is Sydney!'

Five cities made presentations to the IOC in Monte Carlo to host the 2000 Summer Olympics. On 24 September 1993 Sydney narrowly won the right to host the games, defeating Beijing by only two votes. When Samaranch made the announcement, the celebrations commenced.

Sydney announced to host the 2000 Olympics, Ten News, 24 September 1993. NFSA title: 243806. Courtesy: Network Ten.

This clip perfectly captures the drama of the announcement. All the main players from the Australian delegation are interviewed and provide a range of engaging perspectives. Many years later the excitement still jumps off the screen.

'The Greatest Show on Earth'

The opening ceremony took place on Friday 15 September in Stadium Australia. It began with a lone stock-horse rider cracking a whip and concluded with the well-kept secret of Cathy Freeman lighting the Olympic Flame. But it didn't go off without a hitch.

2000 Olympics opening ceremony, Ten News, 16 September 2000. NFSA title: 470942. Courtesy: Network Ten.

This is a concise and professional media package of the key highlights from the opening ceremony. The inclusion of short interviews with athletes provides a humorous, if at times awkward, insight into what was happening behind the scenes.

'A Moment in History'

The sight of Cathy Freeman storming to victory in the women's 400 metre final in her green and silver bodysuit is one of the greatest moments in Australian sporting history. 

Cathy Freeman wins gold, 7 News, 26 September 2000. NFSA title: 520865.

This clip powerfully captures one of Australia's most memorable sporting moments. The multi-camera coverage of the race itself is an exceptional example of live vision switching.The inclusion of interviews with Freeman just after the race and later, provide a useful context as to what the win meant for her. It would have been interesting to hear more from bronze medallist Katherine Merry who seems to appreciate the significance of the race for Freeman, who was the first Australian Aboriginal competitor to win an individual Olympic gold medal.


Newscaf highlights some of the significant and intriguing stories in the NFSA's television news collection that have been digitally preserved for future generations to enjoy and explore.

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