As the final ceremony of the London Olympics fades away the media are already asking whether they were better than Sydney. I have no answer to that question as I have only seen a little of these latest games, held as they were, across the other side of the world. It matters not in the end, for hopefully each Olympics learns from the successes and failures of those that preceded it.
Yesterday we visited the Sydney 2000 Olympic site at Homebush for one of its fine legacies, the Aquatic Centre. Unfortunately, the water playground was closed for maintenance, but it did give us the opportunity to drive elsewhere around the site.
The location at Homebush has many detractors, but I suspect that many are from those who restrict themselves through snobbery to the eastern areas of this city. I like the lonely grandeur of these venues that only come alive for sports matches, concerts and the annual agricultural show. Maybe because it allows me to remember the crowds and the buzz of twelve years ago.
I don’t think Sydney has ever been better than it was during the games. When not attending events I was in the city. It had a relaxed and happy atmosphere, workers crowding around the big screens at Martin Place and elsewhere to watch Olympic events, or on the televisions which sprung up across offices everywhere. More people supposedly departed Sydney than arrived for the duration of the games. I like to think that the city’s nastiness departed with them.
So I think the Sydney Olympics were a success, if only a fleeting one, just to show that this could be a great city. I hope that London enjoyed its time too.