At the Sporting d'Ete club in Monte Carlo, Monaco back in September 1993, the 88 voting members of the International Olympic Committee began casting secret ballots. 'The New York Times' reported, "Beijing (China) led after each of the first three rounds. In the first round, Istanbul (Turkey) with least votes was eliminated, then Berlin (Germany) and finally Manchester (England). In the end, Sydney (Australia) defeated Beijing by 45 to 43 votes in the fourth and final voting round to be the site of the millennium Games. 

"As a large multicultural city, Sydney already has many of the urban and sporting facilities needed to hold the 2000 Games. But a new Olympic village housing all athletes will be built, while all sporting venues will be within 30 minutes' travel time of the village. Of the 36 venues that will be needed, 20 already exist, although an 80,000-seat Olympic Stadium is among those that await construction." 

'Fairfax Media' reported at the time, "In Monte Carlo, champagne corks popped as hundreds of flag-waving Australians began celebrating the win. In Sydney, tens of thousands who had gathered at Circular Quay in the early hours to hear the announcement were joined by thousands more who streamed out of homes, hotels and clubs to form an enormous street party. 

"Sydney's Games, to run from September 16 to October 1, are certain to become known as the Millennium Games. They will be the biggest event in the city's history, attracting 15,000 athletes and officials from as many as 200 countries, an estimated 250,000 visitors, and a television audience comprising two-thirds of the world's population." In all, there were 10,651 athletes (4,069 women, 6,582 men) from 199 countries competing at the 2000 Sydney Olympics in 300 events (comprised of 36 different sports). The media totaled 16,033 (5,298 written press, 10,735 broadcasters). Volunteers totaled 46,967.  

Rod McGeoch who was the chief executive of the Sydney 2000 Olympic bid told 'Fox Sports' in 2015, "Sydney was the beginning of the critical role of government. Make governments have a separate budget and infrastructure budget and leave us just running the event. After that the Olympic movement said 'That's the way to do this. Let's not get caught paying for bloody stadiums which you use for 50 years. Let's not get caught paying for that out of a 16-day budget."

It was understood Greece's government made a loss of around $US14 billion for the Athens 2004 Games. Rod McGeoch told 'Fox Sports', "Athens didn't understand the temporary venue solutions and got forced by sport into building venues. You build a permanent taekwondo venue, beach volleyball venue and they're never used again. Every sport will try to get a permanent venue out of an Olympics and governments need to stand up to them and say 'You don't need that.'

"We spent $US20 million (on the Sydney bid) and won. Berlin against us spent $US75 million and got five votes out of 93. I am told on very good authority that for Tokyo 2020, Tokyo spent $US160 million on the bid. Istanbul spent $US55million (on its fifth bid in six Summer Olympics). As a result of that, there's suddenly a complete nervousness on the part of cities about bidding.

"If you add the cost of bidding and the cost of hosting the games, people are really starting to say 'now wait a minute.' There is an enormous amount of misunderstanding about how you manage to host a Games. I actually like advising governments, because they can be frightened out of, what I think for wealthy countries, is a perfectly achievable assignment."

At the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, IBM was the primary IT supplier. Belinda Goldsmith of rediff.com was in Sydney back in August 2000 reported, "Sydney is being heralded as the first 'Internet Olympics' due to the explosion in Net use since 1996 with 275 million Internet users globally now (in 2000) compared to 40 million four years ago (in 1996). The Sydney Olympics is expected to be the biggest test yet for the Internet. It will show how the web copes when a worldwide audience plugs in at the same time and in many different languages."

'The Independent Online' reported in 2000, "To ensure results and other information is available instantly to millions of internet users around the world, IBM has established a global network of massive caching centers linked using sophisticated load-balancing technology. Designed to cope with an expected traffic level of around one billion page views, the infrastructure is larger than any previously used for a sporting event.

"Working alongside IBM for the past six years (1995-2000) has been Australia's national telecommunications company, Telstra. Telstra has established a complete communications infrastructure covering all Olympic sites, with high-capacity links to the outside world. Dubbed the Millennium Network, it comprises fixed, mobile and radio networks, as well as a series of high-speed fibre optic rings that circle Sydney, linking all 36 Olympic venues and a central control room.

"Telstra has installed a sophisticated monitoring system that will alert engineers to any problems on the entire network during the Games. Linked to a mapping application, the system can pinpoint cable breaks or malfunctioning equipment to within a few metres. The role of Telstra's network is particularly critical as it will carry all video and audio coverage to audiences around the globe.

"The company has also constructed what has become the densest mobile network anywhere on the planet, designed to cope with more than 600,000 extra users. In particularly busy areas, such as the Olympic Stadium and the central city area, a new technology will be used that allows multiple callers to share a single frequency channel. Also involved in designing and building the infrastructure for the Sydney Games have been other IT partners including Fuji Xerox, Samsung and Swatch.

"Despite it being the most wired games ever conducted, Fuji Xerox has been busy installing a printing infrastructure covering all sites. It is anticipated that during the 16 days of competition, more than 30 million pages will be printed. All content will be extracted from the IBM results system and fed to printers as required. Swiss watch company Swatch has installed timing equipment at each venue that feeds information directly into the IBM results computers. All systems have undergone rigorous testing and back-ups are in place to ensure reliability. Once the flame is extinguished on 1 October (2000), much of the infrastructure will be removed. The result of six years of toil will - it is hoped - have done its job."

With Sydney 9 hours ahead of London and 13 hours ahead of New York, the official Olympic website (www.olympics.com) reportedly attracted 7.2 billion visitors during the first 10 days of competition. In contrast, NBC's primetime coverage of the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympic Games drew an average audience of 23.2 million viewers over 10 individual telecasts.

Craig Lowder of IBM believed the time difference between Sydney and Europe and the United States encouraged fans seeking news and real-time results to log on to the Internet rather than wait for delayed television broadcasts. According to IBM, one of the most popular features of the official website was the downloadable IBM Real-Time Scoreboards. Over 1.6 million scoreboards were downloaded and 58.3 million sports results requested.

Traffic to www.olympics.com for the 2000 Sydney Games eventually surpassed the number of hits received by previous Olympics websites powered by IBM. The 1998 Winter Games in Nagano, Japan attracted 634 million hits from around the world and the 1996 Atlanta Games attracted 187 million hits. Paul Holmes also reported in 2001, "In addition, IBM’s FanMail website (ibm.com/fanmail) logged over 350,000 personal messages from fans in 200 countries to Olympic athletes competing in Sydney. The official Sydney Games website set several world records. During the Games, the site logged 11.3 billion total hits and attracted 8.7 million unique users. In one day, the site logged a record 683 million hits." 

On reflection in 2008, Glyn Moody told Olympics fans, "In 1996 the World Wide Web was truly in its very early stages. The Olympics took place less than a year after Netscape went public, which many consider the key event marking the transition of the Internet from a research network used primarily by the technical community to the commercial behemoth that it went on to become. The new World Wide Web had the feeling of magic, but, in 1996, it was pretty primitive magic. 

"To begin with, the vast majority of people accessing the Web at the time were doing so over slow dial-up modems with bandwidths of 56 kilobits per second or less. Only at work, if you were lucky, did you have access to faster broadband speeds. It wasn't until years later that broadband usage in the home became commonplace. As we were planning the IT infrastructure for the Olympics website, hardware was not an issue. 

"But the software for web servers was quite immature. Netscape's web software was the most widely used in those days, and while it was adequate for small workloads, its scalability was suspect. We could not use it. Instead, we used the open source Apache Server as the basic web server, and custom built the extensions needed to support its content, applications and other capabilities. 

"We were pretty sure that the Atlanta Olympics website was the largest such web project anyone had undertaken so far. Because it was all so new, we did not know how many people would come to our website and what features they would use once they got there. We were well aware of the considerable risks inherent in doing such a complex, new project on such a global stage. 

"We knew, for example, that beyond a certain number of users, the response time would start to degrade, and if sufficiently stressed beyond its capabilities, the system could become unstable and crash. Our Olympics website worked quite well, except for some unduly slow response times when traffic got very heavy. Overall, the site handled 187 million hits – that is, individual pieces of information served to users. We learned a lot about the requirements for building and operating large, complex websites. All in all, it was a very successful experiment."

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