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Old September 28, 2000, 11:02 AM
Dien Rice
 
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Default Olympic Fever.... I caught it!

I’m living in the Olympic city – Sydney, Australia.

And finally tonight (it’s evening in Oz as I write this), I saw an Olympic event.

I traveled to Olympic Park, where the bulk of the events are being held. It’s a huge sports complex, consisting of several large Olympic venues and stadiums – all built specially for the Olympics.

Not only were the venues impressive – so were the crowds. Sweeping down Olympic Blvd was a river of 100,000 people, heading towards their venues. Yet even for such a huge crowd, everything was very orderly. Quite amazing! :)

I headed for the Sydney Aquatic Centre, where I was to see my event. I climbed up the stairs – almost an Olympic event in itself!

After a few mis-directions, I finally found my seat. I peered down towards the pool. Were those little safety pins down there? Oh, they’re the athletes! :)

Well, it wasn’t that bad. While I was quite high up in the stands, they also had some large screens where I could see the action broadcast as well. And part of the excitement was the spirit of the crowd.

This was the 3 meter women’s diving final. It may seem to be a strange event to attend, but I’m pleased I went. It’s hard not to admire the athlete’s skill, and they were also incredibly graceful. (Also, tickets sold fast – that’s one of the events which was still available.)

It was interesting seeing the expression on the athlete’s faces before they took their dive. There was quite a difference. Some of the athlete’s eyes stared straight ahead, betraying a steely determination. But the face of the woman who eventually won was quite different.

As she stood on the springboard, she closed her eyes. Her face became relaxed, as she achieved a relaxed focus. And it showed in her performance.

The top two winning athletes were streaks ahead of the rest of the pack. While the gold and silver medal winners were quite close in their scores, they were both a long way ahead of the bronze winner.

The gold and silver medal winners were both from China – Fu Mingxia and Guo Jingjing respectively. The bronze medal went to Doerte Lindner from Germany.

After the event, I wandered around, and wandered towards an NBC Pavilion, where Matt Lauer and Katie Couric from the NBC Today show were broadcasting. For a brief while, I joined the spirited crowd surrounding the pavilion. A few very spirited Aussies in the crowd were singing, “Katiieeee weee lovvve yooouuu,” and after that burst into strains of “Waltzing Matilda.”

I joined the human river along Olympic Blvd. again to head for the train station to go home. On the way out were a group of Olympic volunteers, helping to direct the crowd through a megaphone, directing them towards the correct train platform for their different destinations. And after that, one of them burst into song.... To the tune of “Here we go around the Mulberry bush,” he sang....

Here we go round Olympic Park
Olympic Park
Olympic Park
Here we go round Olympic Park
On a Thursday evening....

It was hard to stifle a chuckle.... :)

What a great spirit to the Games! And the best part is....

I have tickets to go again tomorrow too. I can’t wait! :)

Dien Rice
 


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