A decade since the Olympic ... effort by my Russian gran
It’s 10 years today since the start of the Sydney Olympics, otherwise known as the greatest party ever. Flew by, didn’t it. This isn’t a long, boring treatise on the legacy of the Games, although if you want to have a whinge about white elephants, or elephants of any colour, don’t let me stop you.
I, for one, can’t believe the NSW government is blowing $45 million to revamp the Sydney Showground for the Western Sydney Battlers or whatever the new AFL team ends up being called. Wait. It’s the NSW government. Of course I can believe it.
But like I say, this isn’t a whinge piece. It’s basically just an invitation to share your memories of that wonderful time.
Click on my CV at the top of this piece and you’ll see I drove cabs throughout the Games, as part of a project which became a book which later became a play. So excuse the pun, but allow me to be first cab off the rank with a good yarn.
It was late in the games and I had a member of the gold medal-winning Russian handball team in my cab. He was off to a mate’s house for dinner. Problem is, he spoke no English and his mate’s address was written in Russian.
No worries. I simply called my Russian grandmother. Though she lived in a nursing home in Melbourne and didn’t quite understand what was happening, she was savvy enough to translate his directions in a hilarious three-way phone relay.
As I’ve written in this month’s Alpha magazine, that’s the kind of magic that occurred countless times on the streets of Sydney during the Olympics.
Oh, and while I’m gratuitously plugging this month’s Alpha, I should mention that my piece includes interviews with eight Australian gold medalists from Sydney 2000. Ian Thorpe is one of them, but they’re not all big names, and many have taken wildly differing paths over the last 10 years.
But enough from me. Give me your Sydney 2000 stories, regrets etc. The best response gets a free copy of my taxi book, if I can find one in the attic. The book ain’t War and Peace, but it will take you back to the streets of Sydney, during possibly the last two weeks in this city’s life where people routinely forgot to be abrupt and rude to each other.
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