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Athletes from 199 delegations, every eligible National Olympic Committee in the world, participated in the Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, September 15 - October 1st, 2000.

The games brought North and South Korea together, for at least one moment, when the two nations reached an agreement to march together in the Opening Ceremony.

Four athletes from East Timor, a strife-torn territory that had recently fought for its independence from Indonesia, competed in the Games as Independent Olympic Athletes because East Timor had no National Olympic Committee at the time.

Some of Australia's most notable female Olympic stars; Betty Cuthbert, Shirley Strickland, Raelene Boyle, Dawn Fraser, Shane Gould and Debbie Flintoff-King carried the Olympic Torch into Stadium Australia. Cathy Freeman, Australia's world-champion 400-meter runner lit the cauldron. Freeman, of Aboriginal descent, won the Olympic 400-meter gold medal ten days later and carried both the Aboriginal and Australian flags during her victory lap.

The IOC updated the Athletes Oath, which is recited at the Opening Ceremony of each Games, adding the phrase "committing ourselves to a sport without doping and without drugs."

Triathlon and taekwondo were new sports, and women competed in water polo and modern pentathlon for the first time.

In all 10,651 athletes, 6,582 men and 4069 women, participated in the Games. Thirty-eight percent of the competitors were women, the highest percentage ever at an Olympic Games.

Salt Lake City organized thelargest Olympic Winter Games in history. Events took place in Salt Lake City itself and at several other venues in the vicinity. More than 2,500 athletes competed in a record-number 78 events. Among the new events were women's bobsleigh, men's and women's skeleton, and men's and women's 1.5-kilometer cross country sprint.

The German team won the most medals, 35, including 12 gold. Norwegian athletes won the second highest number of gold medals with 11. Meanwhile, United States athletes, perhaps benefiting from the "home field" advantage and heightened levels of financial support from the United States Olympic Committee, won 34 medals, their best Winter Games performance ever.

Norway's Ole Einar Bjoerndalen was the Games' most-decorated athlete, winning four gold medals in biathlon events. Janica Kostelic, of Croatia, was the star of alpine skiing, winning three gold medals and one silver.

Spectators, athletes, Olympic officials and the media widely praised the Salt Lake City Games. The venues were attractive, volunteers were friendly and helpful, transportation worked well and public gathering places such as the Olympic Medals Plaza in Salt Lake City and Main Street in Park City provided a festive atmosphere. Security throughout the Games was tight, but not overly obtrusive.

The Games, however, were not without controversy. In late 1998, revelations that the Salt Lake City Olympic bid committee had given money and other gifts to some members of the International Olympic Committee during the bidding process led to a major scandal. Four IOC members resigned because of their role in the scandal, the IOC expelled six other members, and the president and vice president of the organizing committee resigned.

During the first week of the 2002 Games, a public outcry arose following the pairs figure skating competition in which the judges' awarded the gold medal to a Russian pair and the silver to a Canadian pair. The International Skating Union determined that one of the judges had been improperly influenced and recommended that the IOC award two gold medals in the event - one to the Russians and another to the Canadians. The IOC agreed with the recommendation and awarded a second set of gold medals to the Canadian couple.

Improved drug testing methods also resulted in several athletes testing positive for prohibited substances. Three cross country skiers and one alpine skier were caught in post-event tests. The IOC revoked their medals in those events.


Planning is always under way for future Olympic Games. Beijing, China is preparing to host the 2008 Summer Olympic Games.

Vancouver, Canada is host for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games and London, England is preparing to host the 2012 Summer Games.

China first participated in the Olympic Games of 1932 in Los Angeles, and competed in each Games until 1956. In 1960, for political reasons, China chose not to participate, and stayed away from the Games until 1984. China is experienced in putting on large sports festivals, holding National Games every four years. Beijing held the 2001 World University Games, the Asian Games in 1990, and the city of Harbin held the Asian Winter Games in 1996.

Beijing was awarded the Olympic Games on July 13, 2001.

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada narrowly won the bid for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, having bid for the Olympic Winter Games on one previous occasion, in 1976.

Vancouver hosted the Empire Games (now Commonwealth Games) in 1954.

Vancouver and Whistler plan to begin the construction of venues for the games in 2005, with completion expected between 2007 to 2009.

Test events will be held in every sport in 2008 and 2009. A four year long Cultural Olympiad is planned from 2006 to 2010.

London was awarded the Games of the XXXth Olympic Games on July 6, 2005.

London has held the Games twice before, in 1908 when Rome was originally selected but not able to host the games, and in 1948, the first Games held after WWII.

London has plans for an Olympic Park to be built on 500 acres in East London. The site will contain the main Olympic Stadium, Press Center, the Olympic Village, and venues for aquatics, hockey, cycling, basketball, volleyball, handball and fencing.

Transportation systems in London will receive a full upgrade for the Games.

London will also host the Paralympic Games, which grew out of the Stoke Mandeville Games, which the doctor, Sir Ludwig Guttman, established in 1948 when the Last Olympic Games were held in London.

Copyright: Amateur Athletic Foundation of Los Angeles, January, 1996; November, 1997; February, 1999; April 2001; March 2002; September 2005.

The images used in AN OLYMPIC PRIMER are the copyrighted property of the Amateur Athletic Foundation of Los Angeles, Allsport Photography, the International Olympic Committee, the United States Olympic Committee, the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, the Organizing Committee for the XVIII Olympic Winter Games, Nagano 1998, the Sydney Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games and the Salt Lake City Olympic Organizing Committee. Copyrighted images, not belonging to the Amateur Athletic Foundation, are used here under the fair use provision of the Copyright Act or with the permission of the copyright owner.

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For more information on the Olympic Primer, contact the AAF library at

Copyright, 1997-2005 Amateur Athletic Foundation of Los Angeles. All rights reserved.

©2006 Arne Solvang on behalf of London International Pin Club, UK.

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