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Memories of Sydney 2000 watching Tokyo 2020, Covid 19 style in 2021..its doing my head in!

Who would’ve thunk it? Today marks the 29th day since all of Greater Sydney was plunged into lockdown as a result of one selfish unvaccinated limo driver transporting an airline worker without wearing a mask! What on earth was he thinking you might ask? Chances are that he wasn’t thinking much at all. Either that or he was incredibly naive.

After being confined to the house for just over four weeks it’s hard to feel optimistic about the state of the world right now. I was out at the Olympic Stadium at Homebush this week and as I was lined up with many others in the long queue to receive my second COVID vaccination, I thought about the excitement that washed over the city during the Olympic Games held in Sydney in the year 2000. The city was awash with people out having fun, watching events on big screens set up all over the place, whilst socialising and enjoying a drink with new and old friends. There was a buzz of energy wherever you went and people were so joyous it felt like we were all on holidays. I remember the quiet in the stadium as everyone held their breath waiting for our Golden girl Cathy Freeman, wearing a full green and gold bodysuit to reach the ribbon first in the 400 metres running race, followed by the loudest roar you could ever imagine along with some happy tears when she made it there ahead of all the others competitors. It was the most magical moment for her and everyone watching around the world that night. Dreams really do come true.

All vaxxed up and nowhere to go

The 2020 Olympics kicked off in Tokyo this week. Not only was it being held a year late, the Tokyo games were going to be very different games to the one we experienced back in Sydney in 2000. Due to the COVID pandemic ravishing throughout the world, the games will go ahead with athletes bringing their best efforts to the world without any spectators in the stadium to cheer them on. Some athletes may actually prefer not having the distraction of large crowds, however many will not. I feel sad for the beautiful Japanese people not being able to showcase their wonderful culture and welcoming and proud hospitality in person to the world. Regardless, the show will go on and for those of us with little mobility and in lockdown here in Australia and elsewhere around the world, the Olympic Games might just provide the respite we are all looking for.

The 2020 Olympic Opening Ceremony was both subdued and reflective, with emotional performances depicting the troubled times the world has been experiencing in the lead up to the games. Whilst we’ve all felt isolated at times during the pandemic sweeping the world and caught up in a tug of war of emotions often stretching us in all directions, the games represent hope and a coming together of all nations to support each other and overcome the challenges we have faced over the past year. Did you well up with tears as our very own Keith Urban joined with a children’s choir from Japan and other world renowned singers in a rendition of the powerful anthem Imagine? How much did you feel as Cate Campbell, our four time Olympian and swimming great led our Aussie athletes into the stadium alongside Boomer Paddy Mills, our talented basketballer and first indigenous flag bearer, just one of sixteen indigenous athletes representing Australia at these Olympic Games? I’m sure the athletes were excited to finally be there, to know that the Olympic Games were really going ahead and the culmination of many many years of training, sacrifice and hard work would be put to the test alongside the world's greatest athletes.

‘And the world will be as one’ 📷 @olympics as Naomi Osaka climbs the steps of the model of Mt Fuji to ignite the Olympic cauldron

At home, we enjoyed a taste of Japan in our own lounge room, snacking on homemade Gyoza as we watched and waited for the games to begin.

May all the athletes be able to bring their best performance to the games in whatever sport or country they are representing. They all deserve a gold medal for showing up as Olympians.

Until next time may your days be both serendipitous and enjoyable.


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