May 4, 2000

Construction of Sydney’s Olympic beach volleyball stadium will be rescheduled to May 8 following threats of protests against the building of the stadium. About 150 protesters, burning posters of Olympic rings and carrying anti-stadium banners, assembled at Sydney’s famous Bondi Beach last week. But protesters said they still intend to keep the beach under surveillance around the clock to ensure construction didn’t start.

Sydney’s Olympic torch, to be lit in Olympia on May 10, arrives in Guam on Monday May 22. It then visits 11 South Pacific nations and travels 17,000 km around Oceania, then to Uluru, the monolithic Ayers Rock on June 8. It will be carried by 30 different canoes, ride on Nauru’s famous “phosphate train”, arrive by helicopter at the foot of Papua New Guinea’s infamous Kokoda Trail and appear with traditional fireknife dancers in Samoa. It will twice cross the International Dateline and appear in Vanuata and Samoa on the same day, Monday May 29 and then visit the two newest Olympic nations Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia. New Zealand is its last destination before Australia. The torch will then go on a 100-day tour of Australia before its entry into the Sydney Olympic stadium during the opening ceremony on September 15. While in the northern state of Queensland, the flame is expected to be carried underwater for three minutes by a scuba diver in the Great Barrier Reef. But a ride on the space shuttle Atlantis was scrapped because of a series of weather delays.

Although there were some operational problems, which resulted in longer-than-expected road delays, Sydney is ready to stage the Olympic marathon after a test event went off smoothly. Organizers said the glitches would be addressed in planning for future events.

After receiving bad press for trying to force spectators to buy $30 snacks at the Olympic Games, organizers said sandwiches and bottled water could be brought into the venues. Spectators who attend designated Olympic picnic areas, such as the three-day equestrian event, the mountain biking, the cycle road race, the triathlon and near the rowing regatta center, would have no restrictions on food.

Up to 100,000 discounted Olympic tickets should be available soon for purchase by low-income earners. Many tickets with a value of $60 ($36 U.S.) will sell for between $10 ($6 U.S.) and $30 ($18 U.S.).

Starting Sunday, more than 3.2 million Olympic Games tickets will go on sale. According to initial estimates, there will be between 2.4 million and 2.8 million tickets for all sports. Each day for a month, tickets for a different sport will be offered for sale.

Visitors to Salt Lake’s 2002 Winter Games who need a place to stay will be able to look at a Website launched by a group of Brigham Young University students. The group charges between $99 and $195 to list a residence and eventually the site will offer customers 360-degree virtual tours of available homes. After hearing from the Salt Lake Organizing Committee about infringing on the Olympic copyright, all references to the Games have been removed from the web site, but it is continuing with plans to help out-of-towners find accommodations for the 2002 Games.

And Salt Lake Olympic organizers spent almost $3 million in legal fees because of the U.S. Department of Justice investigation and previous probes into the bid city scandal. The figures were released because of a copyright story in the Salt Lake Tribune, which says there’s a dispute over how much of the costs will be reimbursed by SLOC’s insurance company. The committee denied the bulk of the newspaper’s request and in doing so acknowledged the existence of “confidentiality agreements” designed to conceal the amounts paid on behalf of certain clients.

And finally, Australians are already being inundated through the media by official Games’ sponsors and ambush marketers. Media buyer AIS Media predicts that the Olympics alone will result in an advertising of $145 million across all media in Australia. Official Games’ sponsors include Cadbury, Coca-Cola, Ansett Airlines, Telstra, McDonald’s, and Nestle’s launch of the Milo Green Machine – a vehicle which will sample the product to more than one million people across Sydney over the next 12 months. Meanwhile the International Olympic Committee has launched its $230 million global branding campaign for the Olympics with the “Celebrate Humanity” series of ads.