The Sydney 2000 opening ceremony was called the most beautiful he had ever seen by International Olympic Committee president Juan Antonio Samaranch.
It celebrated Australia's relationship with the sea, the outback, their Aboriginal past and the development of the country from the arrival of the Europeans.
Cathy Freeman, Australia's great 400m medal hope, lit the Olympic flame, although a technical fault halted the cauldron for several minutes as it made its planned ascent up a mechanical waterfall.
It was the climax to a show that lasted an hour longer than its scheduled three.
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