- 01 Oct 2014
- IOC News
Legacies thriving as Sydney marks 14 years since 2000 Olympic Games
Today, 1 October, marks 14 years since the Closing Ceremony of Sydney 2000, but the memories and legacies of the Olympic Games remain as strong as ever.
Australians still fondly recall Cathy Freeman’s stunning 400m gold medal and the exploits of a 17-year-old Ian Thorpe in the swimming pool, while the achievements of British rower Steve Redgrave, German kayaker Birgit Fischer and US sprinter Michael Johnson still resonate around the world.
But away from the sporting highlights, perhaps the biggest achievement of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games has been the enduring strength of the long-term legacies that the event created for the Australian city.
Fourteen years on from the Games, Sydney Olympic Park – which was built especially for the 2000 Games and housed a number of key Olympic venues – is now a thriving commercial, residential and sporting precinct, with the Olympic Stadium hosting a wide range of major events, such as the 2003 Rugby World Cup final, and the indoor arena regularly welcoming international pop concerts.
In total, the Park stages almost 6,000 events annually and plays host to almost 14 million visitors each year. It is also home to over 220 organisations, with a working population of more than 17,000 people, and generates well in excess of AUD 1 billion in economic activity annually for the New South Wales economy.
“With the completion of Sydney Olympic Park, Australia gained a fully integrated major events precinct, combining world-class venues with dedicated transport systems, managed by high-quality venue management teams, and an experienced precinct management organisation, the Sydney Olympic Park Authority,” explains Alan Marsh, the CEO of the Sydney Olympic Park Authority.
In addition to the facilities within Sydney Olympic Park, the 2000 Games also provided many other legacies, such as increased emphasis on environmental management; a massive land regeneration programme; the creation of 430 hectares of parklands; and increased sporting participation rates.
According to Marsh, the success of Sydney 2000’s legacies can be directly attributed to the planning that took place before the Games.
“The Sydney 2000 Olympic Games were the first Games to explicitly incorporate legacy planning into the Olympic bid, outlining a future for the Games infrastructure that extended beyond the hosting period,” he says. “The legacy with respect to sport, the environment and venues were well thought out in advance of the Games, particularly at Sydney Olympic Park.”
To ensure that Sydney Olympic Park continues to build on the Games legacy, a succession of forward-planning blueprints have been designed, providing a roadmap for the ongoing development of the Park.
“The most recent of these documents, Master Plan 2030, outlines the forward vision for the Park for the next 20 years,” explains Marsh. “The goal of the Master Plan is that by 2030 the Park will be home to a daily population of 50,000 workers, students and residents and will play host to another 25,000 visitors daily.”
With plans in place to ensure that Sydney Olympic Park continues to develop as Australia’s premier major events precinct, the future looks as bright as it did when the Olympic cauldron was extinguished 14 years ago today.