by Marcio Coimbra
(Chief Newsletter correspondent in Sydney, Australia)
Yes, it is true. The Olympics are over and we are going to miss it (or some parts of it, at least ). The atmosphere in Sydney was really great with lots of people on the streets and parties everywhere. On the other hand it was a bit tough to get around the city as most streets were closed and the public transport system was stretched to the limit. To catch ferries, trains and buses sometimes required a bit of patience. However, weighting up the good and the bad side of the Olympics, the good side wins by far.
Now that it is over, I regret not having saved more money to spend on tickets. The fact is that one year before the Olympics, the Australian people were not excited at all about the event. Most people were saying they would go overseas during the Olympics to get away from the crowd. On top of that, the tickets were very expensive and the first round of sales was very badly handled, with a few scandals about tickets being given to the rich and famous in detriment to the general population. I thought it wasnt going to be that great. However, that proved to be completely wrong. When the first sales round finished, it was much easier to buy tickets. More information was made available to the public and people started to feel that being part of the games would not be such a daunting task.
At first, when the first list of prices came out, I decided that I would only buy tickets for the soccer finals (as I am an idiot who believed Brazil would be there ). Then, a bit latter, I decided that beach volleyball would also be a good event, with 4 Brazilian teams with very good chance to win a medal. And that was what I did. I bought the tickets mentioned above and was really happy with the decision. However, as the games approached, I found out that the first phase of indoors volleyball was really cheap, with the worst seats (which werent bad at all) costing A$ 19.00. I bought tickets for 3 days of the mens team and 1 day for the womens. I was really lucky as Brazil won all the games I watched. We even beat Holland by 3 X 0, which is not an easy task. At that stage I was really starting to regret not having bought more tickets. The atmosphere at the volleyball matches had been so great and we had had so much fun, that I believe any competition would have been worth watching.
When Brazil lost to Cameroon, I and Daniela (my wife) thought about selling the tickets we had for the soccer finals in order to buy tickets for the volleyball finals (at that stage, we believed Brazil would make it). The problem was that we didnt find anyone interested in buying our tickets, so we decided to keep them and go to the game. We got at the Olympic Stadium a bit late and the score was Spain 1 X 0 Cameroon. The game was really slow and we were not enjoying that very much. However, that scenario changed completely in the second half. Cameroon played a great and entertaining game and ended up winning their first gold medal in the Olympic games history. I must say, they deserved it.
That was the last event we watched and after that, the Olympics were over for us. The only thing left to see was the firework at Circular Quay after the closing ceremony. We went to the city early and found a pub which wasnt completely packed. We had a few beers and walked down to the harbour to try to get a nice spot to see the fireworks. We managed to get a good place and witnessed one of the most beautiful fireworks I have ever seen.
That was the end of the Olympics and I can only say that it has been a great experience to be here and feel the atmosphere. It was really great and I am now looking forward to 2004 in Athens.