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‘The winner is… Sydney’: 25 years since Sydney won the 2000 Olympic bid

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It’s been 25 years since a hushed crowd of half a million people crammed into the Sydney foreshore waiting to hear what are now four iconic words in Australian history.

“The winner is… Sydney.”

The president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Juan Antonio Samaranch had just delivered the news that would further define Australia as an international contender in all rights.

The Australian bid managed to pip fellow contender Beijing to the post, despite China being favoured to win the approval of the IOC.

The man who delivered that successful bid and brought the Olympics to Sydney is Rod McGeoch.

He tells John Stanley “it was always going to be the tightest of tight battles”.

“I felt we’d win and I was reasonably confident, so I thought I was somewhat calm when he read it.

“But (NSW Premier) John Fahey, who was terribly excited, well he was holding onto my arm… he just about jumped through the roof and took me with him.

“And then it was pandemonium after that.

“A wonderful day.”

The 2000 Olympic Games also helped transform Sydney into a jubilant and harmonious city, with John recalling “I’ve never known a happier city”.

“Everyone was nice to each other, everyone was polite… I remember thinking this is unbelievable, if we could bottle this, we’d be a much better city.”

Click PLAY below to hear the full story of how Sydney won the bid and what has happened since