Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ten years ago - 29 September 2000

What's fresh in my mind is this morning's expedition to the Sydney Regatta Centre at Penrith. As this is on the western edge of Sydney (we live on the northern edge) we chose to drive and use the park and ride facility - in just over an hour we were in our seats ready for action but the Gods were not ready. The area was enveloped in a heavy fog and we couldn't see over to the other side of the water.  When the first kayaking semi-final started half an hour late the fog had morphed into a light mist, by the time we left Penrith the sun was shining. 

Olympic action at the Regatta Centre
We got away just in time as a temp. of 34 C. was forecast. We saw a range of 1 and 2 person kayak and canoe semi-finals.  As one who can't maintain her balance on anything I was so impressed by the canoeists who rowed on bended knee - a sight we don't see in Australia. I'm fascinated by how the single canoeists stay straight when they're only paddling on one side - I guess they set their rudder to counter this. I was not looking forward to this session at all - there was an article in the newspaper yesterday which nominated it as the most boring set of events.

It didn't have the excitement of a close basketball match or the grace of rhythmic gymnastics but the combination of a beautiful venue, shimmering water, shining sun, a backdrop of our unique Blue Mountains (they look blue from a distance due to foliage of gum trees) together with brunch lovingly prepared by my son and a series of short but close races gave us a morning to remember.

The night belonged to nations who don't figure highly in the medal count.  The long, lithe Kenyans with their beaming smiles won two golds (and 1 silver and 1 bronze)- in the 3000m steeplechase and the 1500m race. Morococan - Hicham El Guerrouj, favourite in the 1500m, was sandwiched between 2 Kenyans at the finish.  Someone near me commented that he'd better wait a while before returning to Morocco. A 17 year old Polish hammer thrower won the women's event whilst Polish Robert Korzen........ won gold in the 50km walk (a week after winning gold in the 20km) so we stood twice for the Polish anthem.  I was annoyed and embarrassed for Australia when the young woman did not stand for the national anthems.  My son pointed out that she had been knocking back beers all night and was probably incapable of standing. Warm nights and warm beers do not promote sobriety.


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