Australia Eager for Successful 2000 Sydney Olympic Games

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Sydney's hosting of the 2000 Olympic Games will provide a major lift to Australia's international tourism industry, not only in the Olympic year but well into the new century, according to the Australian Tourist Commission (ATC).

With its flexible and highly skilled workforce, its wealth of diverse cultures and its natural resources, Australia is ready to tackle the new century.

Australia is proud to be one of only two nations, along with Greece, to have participated in every modern Olympic Games, and one of only five nations to host more than one Olympic Games. Tens of thousands of Australians, many of them volunteers, are working hard to make the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games the most memorable yet.

Perhaps the most exciting of the Games' preparations revolve around the lead-up to the Sydney 2000 Olympic Torch Relay. The Olympic torch and flame and the Relay that carries them from Greece to their destination every four years, are among the most evocative symbols of the Olympic Spirit.

The Sydney 2000 Olympic torch was lit in Olympia on May 12, 2000. After spending ten days in Greece and 16 days traveling through 12 Pacific Island countries including Guam, Nauru, Tonga and Samoa, it will arrive in Australia on June 8, 2000.

The torch will begin its Australian journey carried by Olympic Gold medalist and indigenous Australian, Nova Peris-Kneebone, in the Northern Territory's Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Its three-month, 27,000 kilometers journey through Australia will take it within one hour's drive of 85 percent of the Australian population. The flame will be carried by 10,000 torch-bearers, some of whom will have the delicate task of ensuring it survives a trip on horseback, on a surf boat at Bondi Beach, on a Royal Flying Doctor Service Aircraft in the remote Australian outback, and on camel on Cable Beach at Broome in Western Australia. The Sydney 2000 Olympic Website, at www.sydney.olympic.org will feature the relay prominently. Interactive maps will bring every step of the journey to Olympic Games fans all around the world.

Great public events like the Sydney 2000 Olympics have an important role to play in raising awareness about environmental issues. Hundreds of thousands of people will visit Sydney in September 2000. During the Olympics, tens of millions will make virtual visits on the Internet, and billions will watch events on television.

The International Olympic Committee believed a strong emphasis on the environment was right for the 2000 Games. Sydney has promised a green Games, and has involved groups such as Greenpeace in setting demanding standards.

The Sydney 2000 Olympics plan is based on efficient use of energy, water and transport. A strong network of road, rail and water-based transport services links Sydney Olympic Park and the Sydney Harbor zones, where 22 of the 28 sporting events will be held. Sporting events outside these zones have good transport services, too. All athletes are within 30 minutes of their competition venues.

The Olympic Co-ordination Authority is building the facilities and venues for the Olympic Games in accordance with the principles of ecologically sustainable development. The Olympic Village houses are solar-powered and incorporates a variety of energy-saving design initiatives, including maximizing the use of natural lighting and insulation. The Olympic Village hotel will have hot water heated by solar power, openable windows and has been designed to reduce annual energy consumption by approximately 40 percent compared with similar hotels built without these design features. The venues for Olympic events have sophisticated ways of using natural light and natural ventilation. Through a range of clever design features the Village gets most of its energy directly from the sun.

The Sydney 2000 Games of the 27th Olympiad is just the first of Australia's major international sporting events for the Millennium year. …