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Volunteers excited for Sydney 2000 Celebrations

31 August 2010

To celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Sydney Olympic Games there will be a Volunteers Reunion including a free BBQ and concert at Sydney Olympic Park on September 15.

Sydney 2000 singers Marcia Hines and John Paul Young will perform and Cathy Freeman and Louise Sauvage will re-light the Olympic cauldron that evening.

All Sydney 2000 Volunteers are encouraged to register online for the event at www.sydney2000reunion.com and come and re-live “the best Olympic games ever”. Volunteers will get free transport to and from Sydney Olympic Park.
“Nothing will stop me getting there on September 15,” volunteer, Vera Rothwell said.

“I still see a lot of volunteer friends regularly, but it will be nice to meet up with a wider group of friends who I haven’t seen for 10 years.”

Like many volunteers, and many Australians, Rothwell remembers Sydney 2000 with great fondness.

“It will be great to get that feeling back again. That vibe, buzz and excitement was so exciting. It was absolutely the best time of my life,” Rothwell said.

Rothwell was part of a small group of pioneer volunteers who spent seven years working on Sydney 2000. Having worked on the bid since December 1992, she has clear memories of the day Juan Antonio Samaranch announced Sydney as the winner in 1993.

“I was so nervous on the day of the announcement. I was absolutely sick all day- I can’t tell you how much my stomach churned. I knew Beijing was a very strong competitor. Their bid was fantastic,” Rothwell said.

Sydney beat Beijing in the final round of voting by just two votes. Rothwell was there to see it unfold on the big screen at Sydney Olympic Park.

“The tension was unbelievable. All I can remember are the words ‘The Winner is Sydney’.  I almost didn’t believe it. When Samaranch said it I screamed and screamed and screamed. I thought I must look like such a fool, but when I looked around everyone was screaming their heads off!”

Throughout the Games Rothwell worked as an assistant to the delegation from Bermuda and walked on the field with the team for the Opening ceremony.

“It was unbelievable. It was such a highlight for the team because there were twice as many people in the stadium as there are in Bermuda,” Rothwell said.

More than 10,000 athletes from 199 nations took part in the Olympics. 3843 athletes competed in the Paralympics.

“One thing that doesn’t get as much attention is how totally dedicated we all were to making the Paralympics the best ever as well,” Rothwell said.

After writing for the Volunteers' Newsletter, Rothwell became known as the ‘Poet of the Games’. She wrote a poem for the unveiling of the Paralympic torch relay in Canberra and read it in front of the Prime Minister.

Sydney 2000 proved an incredible launch pad for many to become life-long volunteers. Since 2000, Rothwell has volunteered at the Centenary of Federation, Youth Olympic Festivals, Rugby World Cup and World Masters Games.

Volunteers groups such as the Spirit of Sydney ensure that the Sydney 2000 legacy lives on. The Sydney volunteers are still setting worldwide standards for volunteers 10 years on.

London 2012 Chairman Lord Sebastian Coe is set to launch their Volunteer drive on September 15.

For more information and to register, go to www.sydney2000reunion.com

Taya Conomos

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