16 Aussie Gold Medalists from Sydney

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If there’s three things we love at Ladbrokes its lists, nostalgia and winners.

The 20 year anniversary of the Sydney 2000 Olympics ticks all three boxes – a winning trifecta in punter speak.

Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be looking at plenty of great moments from “The Best Games Ever” to celebrate 20 years and what better way to get started with a chronological list of those who brought home GOLD for Australia!

(Not going to lie, while we’re loving the celebrations of Sydney 2000, we’re all feeling a little old right now.)

Saturday, September 16 2000:

1- Ian Thorpe
EVENT: Swimming  – Men’s 400m Freestyle  

In his debut Olympics at only 17 years of age, The “Thorpedo” Ian Thorpe claimed Australia’s first Gold Medal in the men’s 400 meter Freestyle.

The Thorpedo gave his all for the loud and proud cheering home crowd as the Sydney International Aquatic Centre rocked to the chants of “Thropie” around the arena.

Thorpe led from start to finish and when he hit the wall, he achieved a new world record of 3:40:59

2-  Michael Klim, Ashley Callus, Chris Fydler, Ian Thorpe

EVENT:  Swimming – Men’s 4 × 100 m Freestyle Relay

One of Australia’s more iconic and most celebrated gold medals as the efforts of our 4×100 meter freestyle relay team.

Leading up to the event, the outspoken American Swimmer Gary Hall Jnr infamously proclaimed “My biased opinion says that we will smash them (Australia’s 4x100m team) like guitars.”

It was on between Thorpe and Hall in the final leg of the relay, when Hall Jnr. Passed Thorpe at the 350 meters mark but the Thropedo was able to recover and touched the wall first to deliver gold for the Australians.

Led by Michael Klim, the Australians responded by playing air guitar to celebrate.

To be fair to Gary Hall Jnr, he was a true sportsmen who was the first to congratulate the triumphant Aussie team.

Sunday, September 17 2000

3- Michael Diamond
EVENT: Men’s Trap Shooting

Diamond defended his title from the Atlanta 1996 Olympics winning Gold in the trap (125 targets) men.

It would be Australia’s only gold medal in the shooting for the 2000 Games.

In 2017, Diamond sold his gold medal for $70,000 at auction.

Monday, September 18 2000

4- Susie O’Neill
EVENT: Women’s 200 m Freestyle

She was known as “Madame Butterfly” but his night she was “Madame Freestyle” as Susie O’Neill brought it home for Australia in the 200 meters.

O’Neill was able to hold off a challenge from Martina Moravcová from Slovakia as she strengthed her lead in the final lap before hitting the wall first at 1:58:24.

When it came to her signature event, the 200 meters Butterfly, O’Neill was upset by American Misty Hyman.

Tuesday, September 19 2000

5 – Phillip Dutton, Andrew Hoy, Matthew Ryan and Stuart Tinney
EVENT – Equestrian Eventing Team

Australia took home gold in the team eventing as part of the 2000 Equestrian Program which was a mix of Dressage, Dressage & Cross Country and Dressage, Cross Conutry and Jumping.

The Aussies were ranked #1 in all disciplines and brought home the gold.

It would be Andrew Hoy’s threepeat of Gold Medals consisting of Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000

6 – Ian Thorpe, Michael Klim, Todd Pearson, Bill Kirby
EVENT: Men’s 4 × 200-metre freestyle relay

Days after smashing the Americans like gutairs, the Aussies got it done with another gold much to the delight of everyone in the home crowd.

It was Aussie dominance all the way when the foursome of Ian Thorpe (1:46:03), Micheal Klim (1:46:40), Todd Pearson (1:47:36) and Bill Kirby (1:47:26) posted a world record time of 7:07:05

Wednesday, September 20 2000

7 – Simon Fairweather
EVENT – Archery Men’s Individual

This Gold Medal gave a whole new meaning to Fairweather Fans.

Simon Fairweather had featured in a previous three Olympic games but was generally considered not to live up to his promise.

He proved his critics in the Archery media wrong with a phenomenal performance in the men’s individual archery in Sydney.

Thursday, September 21 2000

8 – Brett Aitken, Scott Mcroy
EVENT – Cycling Men’s Madison

In one of the more emotional gold medals of the 2000 Olympics, Rider Scott Mcroy celebrated by slowing down and raising his arms in triumph.

Mcroy had tragically lost his 4-month old son to heart failure a year earlier and dedicated his victory to his late child.

Saturday, September 23 2000

9 – Grant Hackett
EVENT: Men’s 1500 metre Freestyle

Despite the sentiment and favouritism for Kieren Perkins to take out a third straight Gold Medal, Grant Hackett took home the Gold in a race that was truly win-win for Australia.

From start to finish, Hackett would maintain a strong lead touching the wall to claim a gold medal in 14:48:33.

Perkins managed to jag a silver medal recording a time of 14:53:59, resuting in a gold/silver finish for the host nation.

10 – Australian Women’s Water Polo Team
EVENT – Women’s Water Polo

Prior to Sydney 2000, Water Polo was a men’s only event but the Australian Womens team played a major part in lobbying to be included in the program and it paid off in the best way possible – a Gold Medal!

In a thrilling final, the scores were tied 3-3 between Australia and the USA, it was Aussie Yvette Higgins who quickly hurled a shot that managed to go past the American goalkeeper Bernice Orwig with just seconds remaining.

The 18,000 strong crowd at the Sydney International Aquatic Centre erupted in what was one of the Games greatest moments.

Monday, September 25 2000

11 – Cathy Freeman
EVENT – Women’s 400 m Sprint.

The most celebrated gold of the 2000 Olympics and arguably in Australian Olympic History.

Cathy – iconic, the suit – iconic, the moment – legendary.

After lighting the flame at the Opening Ceremony, attention focused on how Freeman would fare in her signature event – the 400m sprint.

Many looked forward to the anticipated matchup between Cathy Freeman and Marie-José Pérec from France after their race at Atlanta 1996, but it wasn’t to be with Perec leaving Sydney just before the event after claiming she was harrassed.

All of Australia was right behind Cathy that night.

She didn’t let the nation down.

What a victory!

What a champion!

What a relief.

The story of Freeman’s gold medal was the subject of a sensational documentary that recently aired on the ABC.

Tuesday, September 26 2000

12 – Natalie Cook, Kerri Pottharst
EVENT – Women’s Beach Volleyball

Infront of a packed pop-up Stadium at Bondi Beach, Natalie Cook and Kerri Pottharst jagged a gold medal for Australia in emphatic style.

Cook and Pottharst managed to come from behind twice, defeating Brazil’s Adriana Behar and Shelda Bede, 12-11, 12-10.

The pair had won Bronze in the very first Beach Volleyball competition at Atlanta 1996, responding with inspiring play to finally overcome the Brazilian champions and writing their names into Australian sporting history.

Wednesday, September 27 2000

13 – Lauren Burns
EVENT – Women’s 49kg Taekwondo

Lauren Burns thrilled the local crowd, crushing Cuban fighter Urbia Melendez 4-2 to earn the women’s flyweight title on the first day of the sports Olympic debut!

In 2003, it was reported that Burns had her 2000 Olympic Gold Medal stolen but it was fortunately found three days later.

Thursday, September 28 2000

14 – Tom King, Mark Turnbull
EVENT – Sailing, Men’s 470

15 – Jenny Armstrong, Belinda Stowell
EVENT – Sailing Women’s 470

What a better place for Australia to win gold medals in Sailing than the picturesque scenes of Sydney Harbour.

It was Aussie Gold to Max King and Mark Turnbull (470) and Jenny Armstrong and Belindia Stowell (470).

Australia also claimed a silver medal in the Tornado class and Bronze in the Lazer Class.

Many in the Australian Sailing Scene credit legendary coach the “Medal Maker” Victor Kovalenko OAM (pictured in the middle) for playing a major role in Australia’s success.

Victor Kovalenko OAM - Australian Sailing Hall of Fame

Friday, September 29 2000

16 – The Hockeyroos (Australian Women’s National Field Hockey Team)
EVENT – Women’s Hockey Final

Australia’s own Hockeyroos made it three gold medals from four Olympic Games with a 3-1 win over Argentina.

The New York Times reported at the time

“…And by the end of their 3-1 victory, after the Hockeyroos had dismantled their opponent’s will with their deceptive stick skills, opportunistic scoring and aggressive attack, they were free to enjoy the buildup to their gold medal.”

“While the crowd counted down the last 10 seconds in a crescendo, the Hockeyroos embraced each other, linked arms like papers dolls and started celebrating. The Olympic favorites — a team that has now won three gold medals in a row — could finally feel relief.”

AUSTRALIA’S MEDAL TALLY AT THE SYDNEY 2000 OLYMPICS:
16 Gold
25 Silver
17 Bronze

58 Total (4th Overall)

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