2000 Summer Paralympics

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XI Paralympic Games
Paralympic logo 2000 Sydney.jpg
Host city Sydney, Australia
Motto Performance,Power and Pride
Nations participating 127
Athletes participating 3846
(2867 men, 979 women)
Events 551 in 20 sports
Opening ceremony 18 October
Closing ceremony 29 October
Officially opened by Governor-General William Deane
Paralympic Torch Louise Sauvage
Paralympic Stadium Stadium Australia
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Excited school children in green and gold show their support for the Australian Paralympic Team at the 2000 Summer Paralympics
2000 Summer Paralympics mascot Lizzie the Lizard waves to the audience during the games. The character represents an Australian frilled-neck lizard.

The 2000 Paralympic Games were held in Sydney, Australia, from 18 to 29 October. The eleventh Summer Paralympic Games, an estimated 3800 athletes took part in the Sydney programme. They commenced with the opening ceremony on 18 October 2000. It was followed by the 11 days of fierce international competition and was the second largest sporting event ever held in Australia. They were also the first Paralympic Games outside the Northern Hemisphere.


The mascot for the 2000 Paralympics was "Lizzie" the Frill-necked Lizard.[1]


Australian artist Jeffrey St. John sang "Advance Australia Fair" and "The Challenge" at the Opening Ceremony. Kylie Minogue sang "Waltzing Matilda" and "Celebration" at the Opening Ceremony. Other performers for the Opening Ceremony included Nathan Cavaleri, Melissa Ippolito, Bryan Brown, Taxiride, Billy Thorpe, Jack Thompson, Renee Geyer, Tina Harris, Vanessa Amorosi and Christine Anu. Australian country artist Graeme Connors sang his song 'Being Here', which was specially written for the event.

The Australian group, The Seekers, sang their hit song "The Carnival Is Over" as the finale to the Closing Ceremony. Judith Durham, who had a broken hip, sang from a wheelchair.


The Games were organised by the Sydney Paralyampic Organising Committee led by President Dr John Grant and Chief Executive Officer Lois Appleby.

Torch relay[edit]

Paralympic Torch, designed by Robert Jurgens, now placed in front of ANZ Stadium
Australian athletics competitor Louise Sauvage lights the cauldron with the Paralympic Flame at the finish of the torch relay, 2000 Summer Paralympics Opening Ceremony

The Torch Relay Programme's objectives were to develop a route and an event which would help maintain momentum between the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games, promote the Paralympic Games and encourage ticket purchases. It was also to safely deliver the Paralympic flame to the Opening Ceremony.

While the relay visited each Australian capital city, it also focused strongly on Sydney and the surrounding region, as this was the main catchment area for ticket sales.

The Paralympic Torch Relay succeeded in generating community and media support for the Games, with crowds in many areas and significant crowds lining the Sydney metropolitan route in the final two days of the relay.

The event, which commenced with a lighting ceremony at Parliament House, Canberra on 5 October 2000, involved 920 torchbearers, each of whom carried the flame an average of 500 metres. After visiting each capital city (except Sydney) by air, the relay travelled in New South Wales (NSW) from Moss Vale through the Southern Highlands, Illawarra, Campbelltown, Penrith, Windsor, Hunter and Central Coast areas before heading to Sydney.

Highlights included:

  • The creation of the Paralympic flame during an Indigenous lighting ceremony on the forecourt of Parliament House, Canberra, with Paralympian David Hall (a tennis player) as the first torchbearer. The Australian Prime Minister attended this event.
  • The use of a Royal Australian Air Force Falcon 900 Executive jet to convey the Paralympic flame around Australia.
  • The Paralympic flame being carried across the arch of the Sydney Harbour Bridge (17 October 2000) by four torchbearers.


The games included 550 separate events in 19 sports. For the first time, women's events were included in the powerlifting programme and wheelchair rugby, a demonstration sport at the 1996 Paralympics, was contested as a medal-awarding sport.[2]

Games highlights[edit]

Action shot of Australian swimming star Siobhan Paton, who won six gold medals at the 2000 Summer Paralympics

Medal count[edit]

Australian cyclist Lyn Lepore shows a gold, silver and bronze medal from the 2000 Sydney Paralympic Games plus the diamond pin presented to her by BHP for winning gold

A total of 1657 medals were awarded during the Sydney games: 550 gold, 549 silver, and 558 bronze. The host country, Australia, topped the medal count with more gold medals and more medals overall than any other nation. Great Britain took the most silver medals, with 43, and tied Australia for the most bronze medals, with 47.[5]

In the table below, the ranking sorts by the number of gold medals earned by a nation (in this context a nation is an entity represented by a National Paralympic Committee). The number of silver medals is taken into consideration next and then the number of bronze medals.

      Host country (Australia)

Rank Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1  Australia (AUS) 63 39 47 149
2  Great Britain (GBR) 41 43 47 131
3  Canada (CAN) 38 33 25 96
4  Spain (ESP) 38 30 38 106
5  United States (USA) 36 39 34 109
6  China (CHN) 34 22 17 73
7  France (FRA) 30 28 28 86
8  Poland (POL) 19 23 11 53
9  South Korea (KOR) 18 7 7 32
10  Germany (GER) 16 41 38 95

Participating delegations[edit]

One-hundred and twenty-three delegations participated in the Sydney Paralympics. Included among them was a team of "Individual Paralympic Athletes" from East Timor. The newly independent country had not yet established a National Paralympic Committee, so the International Paralympic Committee invited East Timorese athletes to compete at the games under the title of Individual Paralympic Athletes.[6]

Barbados, Benin, Cambodia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guinea, Iraq, Laos, Lebanon, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mongolia, Niger, Palestine, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Rwanda, Samoa, Sudan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Vanuatu and Vietnam, who had not participated in the Atlanta Games, competed in Sydney.[7]


Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, multiple Paralympic gold medallist for Great Britain, later said of the Sydney Games:

"Sydney 2000 will always hold a special place in the hearts of everyone who was there. The Aussies love their sport and they treated us simply as sportsmen and women. We weren’t regarded as role models or inspirations, we were competitors. Some of us won gold medals, most didn’t, but, hey, that’s life. Sydney was phenomenal because, from day one, you felt there was something extraordinarily special in the air. Sydney was an athletic Disneyland, it was where magic happened. It probably marked the time and place when Paralympians genuinely became part of the Olympic Movement."[8]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "A Brief History of the Olympic and Paralympic Mascots". Beijing2008. 5 August 2004. Retrieved 25 October 2006. 
  2. ^ "Sydney 2000 - General Information". International Paralympic Committee. August 2001. Retrieved 2011-07-12. 
  3. ^ "Superpowers struggle to perform at Paralympics", Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 30 October 2000
  4. ^ "Beauts", CNN, 27 October 2000
  5. ^ "Medal Standings - Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games". International Paralympic Committee. 2008. Retrieved 2011-07-12. [dead link]
  6. ^ "East Timor's tiny team gets warm welcome". ESPN. 18 October 2000. Retrieved 2009-03-13. 
  7. ^ "Still growing: Paralympics world's second-largest sporting event", Sports Illustrated, 20 September 2000
  8. ^ "Please don't cry for them", The National, 31 August 2008

External links[edit]