Nova Peris-Kneebone, the only Australian Aborigine to win a gold medal at an Olympic Games, carried the Olympic flame when it landed at Uluru in central Australia Thursday. Kunmanara Uluru accepted the torch from Australia’s governor-general Sir William Deane, then handed it to eight other members of his family before it was passed onto Peris-Kneebone. Later, in Alice Springs, more than 15,000 people crammed onto a football field for the first of hundreds of local ceremonies. The relay will then embark on a 100-day, 16,740-mile route around Australia, involving about 11,000 torchbearers and passing within driving distance of 80 per cent of the population, to arrive in Sydney’s Stadium Australia on September 15.
If the state government fails to approve an Olympic pay allowance, public transport rail employees have threatened to walk off the job and have not ruled out disrupting the Sydney Olympics. A union official is to meet with officials from New South Wales State Premier Bob Carr’s office to discuss the matter.
It will pay for a lot of hamburgers. In a deal worth $50 million to $60 million, McDonald’s will be a worldwide sponsor of the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City and the 2004 Games in Athens. McDonald’s will operate seven restaurants at Olympic venues in Sydney serving athletes in the Olympic Village, the media and the public.
The 2012 Games seem far away but already the committee leading Tampa’s regional bid to host the 2012 Games has unveiled plans for five competition venues in St. Petersburg, including gymnastics and basketball at Tropicana Field. Florida 2012 has raised nearly $10 million for its bid. And its been announced that former Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke and Baltimore Orioles outfielder B.J. Surhoff were among the 14 regional leaders named to the board of directors of a group bidding to host the 2012 Games in the Baltimore-Washington area. The coalition wants to host the Olympics at several sites in Maryland, Washington D.C. and northern Virginia. Other American cities competing to represent the U.S. are Cincinnati, Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas, New York, and San Francisco. December 15 is the deadline to submit bids. The U.S. candidate city will be selected in the fall of 2002 and the International Olympic Committee will pick the host city in the fall of 2005.
And finally, on to the year 2014. There were discussions last month in Montreal by New York tourism and sports officials about a potential cross-border effort to get the 2014 Winter Olympics for Lake Placid and Montreal. Another meeting is scheduled in Lake Placid in July. Joann Reed of the Adirondack Sports Commission said most European athletes coming to Lake Place already fly in to Montreal, so the cooperative venture could work. And using Montreal’s Molson Centre arena with Lake Placid’s new luge and bobsled run could also reduce construction costs. The Winter Games were in Lake Placid in 1932 and 1980 and Montreal hosted the 1976 Summer Olympics.