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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Sydney- Olympic Park and Dinner Cruise

View from the hostel.

At this point, you may have been getting used to our updates about not being able to find wifi, or having to deal with broken appliances.  This was certainly one of the themes of Lennox Head(it really wasn't that bad), but now we're in Sydney. Believe me, living in a cabin with 18 other people is no cakewalk, but the big city offers several challenges. Linda and the rest of the Sport Management students learned that early this morning as we tried to maneuver our way from downtown Sydney to the Olympic Park(about a 40 minute metro trip). With a bit of teamwork though, we were able to get on the right train, and reach our destination.  

While the Athletic Training students got the morning off to explore the area around our hostel, the Sport Management students had a lecture at the Sydney Olympic Park Authority (SOPA).  There, we learned how the Olympic Park and the 2000 games came to be.  As many of you may remember, the Sydney games were a success, and as former IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch put it in the closing ceremonies of those games, "you have presented the world the best Olympic Games ever". Even though Sydney did a great job of hosting the Olympics, this wan't what distinguished them from other Olympic cities.  What made Sydney stand out amongst the others, was their ability to protect the legacy of their Olympic Games.  That legacy did not just revolve around how people remembered the event in terms of how well it went.  The legacy is more about the lasting impact the games can have on the host city and its surrounding communities.  The Sydney Olympic Park, once an industrial wasteland, had become much more than just a former site for the Olympic Games.  ANZ Stadium (Olympic Stadium) is now the home to Sydney's rugby, soccer, and AFL teams.  With it's 80,000 seating capacity, ANZ stadium is also host to several musical concerts over the course of the year.  Other venues such as the Aquatics Centre, Athletic Centre, and Sydney Showground are still in use , whether it be international, national, or local competition.  The main point we took away from this was that Sydney found ways to use its facilities after the Olympics, unlike cities such as Athens or Beijing.  We also learned that the Olympic Park is in the process of becoming something much greater.  The Olympic Village is now a residential area and there are several high rise apartments being built.  Along with becoming the sports hub of Sydney, Olympic Park is slowly developing into a residential area.  At one point, this area was just a wasteland, and then it was just the complex where the Olympics were held.  Now it is evolving into a community that has the opportunity to prosper beyond sports even though sports gave its start.  This shows that the Olympics is much more capable than just bringing the world together for a single event.  If it is handled properly, it can provide endless possibilities for places that want to develop, grow, and achieve great things for their respective communities.  The Olympic Park in Sydney is a great example of this.  

After our lecture and a lunch, we met up with the Athletic Training students.  As a group, we got a tour of of ANZ Stadium, which is where we will be attending the State of Origin on Wednesday night (See blog tomorrow). We then headed next door to the Athletic Centre, which is a track and field facility.  There was also a chance to see the explore the Aquatics Centre. Pictures below:

After touring the Olympic Park, the much anticipated dinner cruise was next on the agenda.  I think it's fair to say that we all had a blast, and had a great time together as a group.  Even Leah got to celebrate her 21st birthday. Whether it was the Opera House, the Harbor Bridge, or skyline, the view was spectacular from the boat.  It's crazy to think that we have only been in Sydney for just over a day, yet we've seen so much. If we can see this much in about 24 hours, I can only imagine what the next 5 days have to offer.  Stay tuned for the Taronga Zoo and the State of Origin game for Wednesday.  

Zach Starzyk

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