Remembering the full dress rehearsal of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games opening ceremony

It's hard to believe it was 20 years ago that Australia hosted the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.

It was an exciting time watching the torch relay going past my home in Bodalla on its way to Sydney and I was really looking forward to it knowing I was going to get a sneak peek of the opening ceremony.

Jeanne Medlicott with her ticket to the full dress rehearsal of the Sydney 2000 Olympics opening ceremony.

Jeanne Medlicott with her ticket to the full dress rehearsal of the Sydney 2000 Olympics opening ceremony.

The opening ceremony on Friday, September 15 had a cast of 12,687 performers of which my daughter was one - she was performing with the Sydney University Musical Society Choir, just one of the many choirs taking part.

Much to my delight, she gave me two tickets to the full dress rehearsal of the opening ceremony two days before the official opening ceremony.

My friend and I drove to Sydney, then jumped on a train, all included with our tickets and travelled to the Olympic stadium in time for the dress rehearsal beginning at 6pm.

It was amazing, the full dress rehearsal included all the performers, everything except the athletes which excluded the athletes parade and the cauldron lighting.

I don't think I will ever forget the Victor lawnmowers and Hills hoists as they came into the arena along with Nicki Webster soaring through the air on extensive wire work that made the stadium a 3D space for the first time ever.

It took my breath away when a lone rider cantered into the stadium, reared and cracked his whip and 120 horses and riders entered the arena and performed a magnificent display as a tribute to the Man from Snowy River and the Australian Stock Horse.

Although the cauldron wasn't lit at the dress rehearsal, it did move smoothly into position without any hiccups.

I asked my daughter, who got to experience it all, what the most memorable things about the real opening ceremony were?

"It was the cauldron lighting, because it was so creative and because it went wrong and I also loved the coordinated audience participation with torches and lights, another first, although it is commonplace now," she said.

Most of all for me, it was a wonderful experience, made that little more special by getting to see it all before the rest of the world.

This story My special Olympic experience 20 years on first appeared on Bombala Times.

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