Remembering Sydney 2000 in 20 Cool Facts

1. Yelena Zamolodchikova. Despite being the defending World Champion on vault and the current bronze medallist in the all-around from the 1999 World Championships in the qualification round Yelena Zamolodchikova did not advance to either final at the Olympics. However an injury to Produnova granted Yelena a place in the all-around final and Svetlana Khorkina gave her spot to Zamolodchikova in the vault final. A fall on Floor took Yelena out of contention from the top 3 in the all-around final but Yelena became vault Olympic Champion with a memorable, perfectly stuck, double twisting Yurchenko.

2. No Compulsories. It was the first Olympics where compulsories were not contested and only the top six teams from qualifications advanced to the team final. The defending Olympic Team Champion, the United States, barely managed to qualify in 6th place while home-team Australia placed 7th and was out of the team final.

3. Alexandra Croak. Among the Australian gymnasts representing their country Alexandra Croak had been born in the very same city of Sydney. She would eventually attend her second Olympics in Beijing 2008 as a diver. 

4. Gymnastics Birthday. The team final was contested on September 19th 2000, the day Yelena Zamolodchikova turned 18 years old.

5. Romania’s Triumph at a Fully Attended Olympics. It was the first time Romania won an Olympic Team Title at a fully attended Olympics. They had previously won the team title in 1984 however the number one powerhouse of gymnastics, the Soviet Union, was absent from that competition.

6. The vault set at the wrong height. During the all-around final the vault was set at the wrong height causing several falls among them Svetlana Khorkina’s. The mistake was amended half way through the competition however for Khorkina it was too late since she had already fallen off the bars as well.

7. Viktoria Karpenko. During the all-around final Viktoria Karpenko from Ukraine was leading after three rotations with a 29.141 but tripped after her first tumbling pass in her last event, Floor Exercise. She finished in 12th place.

8. Last sweep by a single country. The last ever sweep by a single country was at the all-around final where Romania took all three medals:Andreea Răducan won gold, Simona Amânar took silver and Maria Olaru took bronze. For the new quadrenium, 2001-2004, the two per-country rule was introduced as well as the three-up three-count format in the team competition.

9. Floor Music To Remember. Andreea Răducan’s  Floor Music in Sydney was titled “Reel Around The Sun” from Riverdance

10. Olympians from Atlanta and Barcelona. Simona Amânar, Svetlana Khorkina, Liu Xuan, Amy Chow, Dominique Dawes and Oksana Chusovitina had been present in Atlanta 1996 with Dawes and Chusovitina having been present in Barcelona 1992 as well. Chusovitina attended her 7th Olympics in Rio 2016.

11. Daniele Hypólito and Vassilliki Millousi. Sydney was Daniele Hypolito’s first Olympic Games. In Rio 2016 she competed in her fifth Olympics. It was also Vassiliki Millousi’s first Olympics she would not return to the Olympics until London 2012 and Rio 2016 were her third Olympics.

12. Two records were set. Simona Amânar had won an all-around medal at the Atlanta Olympics and since she also medalled in Sydney she was the most recent gymnast to win two all-around Olympic medals until Aliya Mustafina repeated her all-around bronze from London 2012 in Rio 2016. Also Svetlana Khorkina won back to back Olympic Titles on Uneven Bars; she had previously taken the title in Atlanta 1996. Her record remained for 16 years until Aliya Mustafina won back to back Olympic Titles in London and Rio, also on Uneven Bars. 

13. Returning Olympians in Athens. From the individual medalists only Svetlana Khorkina and Yelena Zamolodchikova attended the 2004 Olympic Games.

14. The Amanar debut. The Amanar was first competed by Simona Amânar in the vault final and even though she landed the vault it was not well executed and she finished 6th.

15. The oldest Olympic Medallists. At the time of their win Svetlana Khorkina and Liu Xuan were 21 years old while Simona Amânar was 20. 

16. The first medal strip. Andreea Răducan was stripped from her all-around gold medal after testing positive for pseudoephedrine, a substance she had unknowingly ingested in a cold medicine. The substance was no longer banned four years later but she has never managed to regain her Olympic Gold Medal

17. The second medal strip. Andreea Răducan’s stripping gave Liu Xuan an all-around bronze medal, since she had finished fourth. However 10 years later Liu Xuan lost her other bronze medal when her team was disqualified after it was discovered that her teammate Dong Fangxiao was underage at the time of the Olympics. Dong had been registered as being born in 1983 for the 2000 Olympics yet at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing 2008 her credentials stated she had been born in 1986

18.The near medal strip. Gymnasts had to be born before December 31st, 1984 in order to fulfill the minimum age requirement to participate at the 2000 Olympic Games. It was suspected that Yang Yun had been born in 1985 making her underage as well as Dong Fangxiao however not enough evidence was gathered and she is officially stated as having been born in December of 1984. She won an Olympic Bronze medal in the uneven bars final that she keeps because it could not be proven she was underage at the time. 

19.Only Powerhouses. Before China’s stripping of the team medal all of the individual medalists came from countries that had medalled in the team competition, meaning they were either Romanian, Russian or Chinese gymnasts

20. Medal Counts. 

Before the strippings:

  • Russia: 3 gold, 3 silver, 2 bronze (8 medals)
  • Romania: 2 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze (6 medals)
  • China: 1 gold, 1silver, 2 bronze (4 medals)

After the strippings

  • Russia: 3 gold, 3 silver, 2 bronze (8 medals)
  • Romania: 2 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze (5 medals)
  • China: 1 gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze (4 medals)
  • United States: 1 bronze

In both cases the most decorated country was Russia.

 A montage that remembers Sydney 2000.  Aproximately at 5:03 you can see Viktoria Karpenko trip and watching her is a young Daniele Hypólito. 

RELATED ARTICLES:

Tumbling Away From Gymnastics Into Other Sports

Gymnastics Birthdays At The Olympics

From Atlanta To Rio: 20 Things a 20 Year Fan Has Seen

Born During the Olympics  — Gone To The Olympics

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