Sydney Ahead In Preparations For Olympics
Deutsche Presse Agentur
Sydney has spent years planning and even building for the Olympics 2000, showing how certain it was of winning the Games to justify its reputation as an international sporting center.
More than half of the buildings for the events existed before the International Olympic Committee cast its vote in favor of Australia's premier city.
Unlike Barcelona and Montreal, Sydney does not have to make major changes in layout and appearance.
Sydney is also being spared the trouble of Atlanta where the Games will be held in 1996. It had to buy all the real estate required before building for the Olympics could begin. In Sydney, all the land and buildings needed are already government-owned.
Displacing cows, sheep
The city does not need more hotels to cope with the rush of Olympic visitors. It has 26,000 hotel beds, more than Barcelona's capacity. Many visitors are expected to prefer accommodation on boats anchored in Homebush Bay to staying in high-rise hotels.
At Homebush, eight miles from Sydney's business center, a sizable tract has been set aside for the 27th Olympic Games. The area was renamed Sydney Olympic Park immediately after the city's bid was accepted in Monte Carlo.
The place the world's top athletes will meet in seven years is where thousands of cows and sheep used to spend their last hours in what looked like a maze.
Sydney architect Philip Cox, 53, responsible for the overall design of the Olympic venues, said Sydney did not have the advantage of Barcelona, which could blend Olympic installations into scenery of breathtaking beauty.
Cox felt challenged by the task of virtually obliterating present-day Homebush Bay and reintroducing the contours and the vegetation of the first Europeans saw when they settled in the area.
Of the 36 Olympic venues, 20 have been completed and three are under construction. Of the remaining 13, nine would have been built even if the Games had not been awarded to Sydney. They include a primary Olympic stadium to accommodate 80,000. This center, with a roof that may be tilted forward to guard against wind and rain, will be completed this month.
The aquatic center, expected to be in use next year, will feature a technical novelty. The water, instead of splashing against the walls of the pool, will spill over, eliminating turbulence during races.
Greenpeace assisted in planning the Olympic Village to make it environmentally friendly.
Solar energy is to be used for street lighting, hot water and air-conditioning, and the water from bathrooms and kitchens will be recycled for lawn and garden sprinklers.
About 10,000 athletes from 194 countries are expected to participate in the second half of September 2000, the Australian spring.
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