When Sydney was awarded the 2000 Olympic Games in 1993, its success was, in part, based on its commitment to an 'environmentally friendly', 'athletes' games', an event that was unpolluted and unpolluting. 1 The extensive marketing of Sydney relied on images that presented Australia as a wild landscape with extremes of both climate and geography: 'Australia. A country of contradictions. Vast and uncrowded. Modern and highly urbanized… Parched red desert and endless golden summer grasses. Lush primeval green rainforest adjacent to sparkling sandy beaches. Rugged blue mountains and dazzling white snowfields.' 2 At the same time, the emphasis on environmental restoration was mirrored in attempts to reclaim a lost Olympic innocence and to ensure the legitimacy of the athletic contest. Such a pristine location was considered an appropriate site for the Games, predicated as they are on 'healthy' bodies engaging in wholesome play. To this end, the Sydney Olympics were promoted as the 'Green' Games at the same time that Australian sporting authorities assured the public that stringent doping controls would be applied. Consumers were thereby reminded that the natural/Olympic environment was being recovered whilst the sporting results were guaranteed to be the sole outcome of an athlete's pure bodily performance.
The representation of 'natural' bodies competing in 'natural' activities in a 'natural' landscape was primary to the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. Within the official Sydney Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (SOCOG) image guidelines, related merchandising and the televisual media, the Australian landscape played a dominant role in Olympic promotional activities. Australia was popularly conceptualized as an environmental paradise in which healthy play could be guaranteed, and the vocal, national stance against 'unnatural' intrusions into elite athletic competition meant that Sydney could provide the requisite assurances that the Games would remain pure and untainted on a number of levels. Within the production of these landscapes, the relationships between the body,
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Publication information: Book title: Sites of Sport: Space, Place, Experience. Contributors: Patricia Vertinsky - Editor, John Bale - Editor. Publisher: Routledge. Place of publication: London. Publication year: 2004. Page number: 101.
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