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SYDNEY 2000 / SUMMER OLYMPIC GAMES | SPOTLIGHT / THE
SHORT AND SWEET SIDE OF THE GAMES

Hosts Are Bloody Proud

September 16, 2000|MIKE KUPPER

Whatever the rest of the world thought of Sydney 2000's opening ceremony, it was a hit among the critics here in Oz.

Wrote columnist Peter Fitzsimons in the Sydney Morning Herald:

"Fan-bloody-tastic!

"A triumph! Encore! Encore! Extra: 'WORLD WATCHES IN AWE AS OLYMPIC GAMES 2000 IGNITES.'

"It's hard to know quite where to begin with the opening ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Games but as I write, the overall impression is: 'You bloody beauty, they fair dinkum knocked 'em dead on that one!' "

A trifle less exuberant but no less enthusiastic was Ray Chesteron in the Daily Telegraph. He wrote:

"It was a quintessentially Australian opening ceremony, made by Australians for Australians. Whether Australia's culture will translate easily overseas . . . remains to be seen.

"A world that links Australia specifically with sport, kangaroos, the Opera House and Crocodile Dundee might have trouble adjusting to a new concept of what we are and how we see ourselves--but who cares?

"We should be--and mostly we are--well past that stage of cultural cringe."

PARENTAL WARNING: STAY AWAY FROM GLUE

The great racket controversy apparently continues in table tennis.

Wrote referee Phil Males in a "Very Important Notice:

"Until now, the racket-control panel glue-tested 25 rackets: four failed.

"We believe the players and the coaches, that they are not using bad glues. We understand their frustration if a racket whose components are . . . approved fails the test. We too do not like that situation, but everybody has to comply with the . . . regulations.

"We know that some manufacturers do not clean their rubbers before supplying them. These rubbers may contain the toxic banned solvents.

"Therefore, we ask you to air your new rubbers for at least 48 hours."

ONE MAN'S OPINION

Have we foreigners been duped? Yes, says the Daily Telegraph in an unsigned opinion piece headlined, "Foreign scribes swallow a myth."

"Foreign journalists in Australia for the Olympics have been filing some grumpy stories about alleged Australian racism," the piece begins.

"In particular, they seem to accept the myth of the 'stolen generation' [Aborigine children removed from their families and placed with white families]. Had they attended the seminar held . . . last week, they could have heard a speech by Douglas Meagher, the government's lawyer in the . . . court case, in which the judge found there was no evidence the [Aborigines] had been forcibly removed, or that . . . there was any general policy of forced removal."

The piece quotes Meagher at length, acknowledging " . . . a bleak and dismal chapter in Australia's history," but concluding, "Many people of Aboriginal descent have kindled and inflamed feelings of great injustice done to them, when that was not the case, and have had their hopes raised of substantial financial compensation, only to find those hopes dashed by the courts."

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