Erewash Conservative Association
Tory PPC Gregor Macgregor's Letters and Press Releases
Gregor Macgregor - In Sydney After the Olympics
"The Best Olympics Ever" That is the way that Juan Antonio Samaranch described the Sydney Olympics, in the closing ceremony. The fact is that they were. The Olympics ended with a party consisting of 1.5 million revellers in Sydney.
Almost every Olympics is marred by drug abuse scandals, and Sydney was no exception. But there is also a fair degree of confusion surrounding an Olympics as well. It was in this area that Sydney excelled. There were no major problems, and difficulties, once identified were quickly overcome.
Transport is a major headache at most Olympics, Mass Transport Systems are often not finished in time, busses are inadequate and roads are congested with the addition of Olympic traffic to the normal rush hour traffic.
This was not the case in Sydney. There was a train service directly to the Holmbush Olympic centre with a station in the centre of the Olympic Site. Busses were laid on in incredible numbers and journeys by car were discouraged.
There were the makings of a disaster on the first day. Many bus drivers had been shipped in to ferry people around and few of them knew their way around. An appeal went out on the radio that night for volunteers. Hundreds of people came forward and offered their services. The result was that the busses moved smoothly and didn't get lost. The tourists also had the benefit of a local on most buses, who became an unofficial tour guide.
Holden, a local manufacturer, provided 4,000 cars; all got up in the Olympic livery. These were used to ferry people around the town using local volunteers.
What also contributed heavily was the attitude of Sydney's commuters. They saw the whole affair as a holiday. In large numbers they took the whole Olympics off and the rush hour was almost non-existent.
Airlines offered very attractive fares to people leaving Sydney, so as to fill the returning planes. Therefore there was another group of commuters, who were not going to work by car. They had decided to take their holiday's abroad and miss the Olympics altogether!
For the visitors who came to see the Olympics there were a number of features, which helped make the stay easier. As with many other events of this type, many people opened their houses to people who wanted to rent them. The result was a massive increase in the availability of accommodation. But even this was not enough, the hotels were all full and many people prefer to use hotels.
The result was that a number of cruse liners moored up on the waterfront and became floating hotels. People could use them in the same way as a normal hotel, except that there was no car park and I suppose the hotel swayed a little! All the same a few thousand extra beds were created in this way.
For the revellers there was a massive amount of entertainment provided. Many of the city's squares were turned over to massive parties; In fact these were so successful that some had to be closed due to over-attendances! The result was a party atmosphere that lasted for the whole two weeks. No less than 10,000 didgeridoos were sold to liven up the occasion.
Finally the weather was kind to Sydney. This time of year is not famous for good weather and it can rain solidly for two weeks causing misery. In fact there was little rain for the whole period and nothing was cancelled due to the weather. Compare that with Wimbledon, for example!
The next Olympics are planned for Athens in 2004. Progress towards constructing the site has been slow. The Olympic committee has demanded that the Greek authorities consult the Australian organisers, in order to gain the benefit of their experiences. In fact they have been blunt enough to say that if they don't, they could have the games taken away from them. If this were the case Seoul would be the beneficiary. They organised a successful games some years ago and have all the facilities available.
I may seem quite pro Sydney in this article, but to be frank this was my impression. As one of the non-attendees, this was the "best Olympics ever".
After leaving Sydney, the Paralympics proved to be a success to match the Olympics. The British team won the second largest haul of golds. The games were equally well run and although there were fewer visitors, all found the games efficiently run and good fun.