27 November, 2020

Goldrush Down Under

Goldrush Down Under

We’ve come a long way since 776 BC. From the sylvan vale before Mount Olympus to the gadget-filled, domed razzmatazz at Sydney. The ritual of homage to Hellenic deities, born again as a jamboree of peace a century ago, is now a no-quarter-given pursuit of individual and collective sporting excellence. A mock battle of nations. Last Friday, both impulses - the national and the global - got interwoven in a strange, heartwarming spectacle. North and South Korea, here as different Olympic teams, marched under one banner. East Timor, which tasted freedom just last autumn, marked its arrival with a group of athletes. Palestine, yet to be born, too had an independent presence. So had Hong Kong. And, the presence of Bill Gates aside, the opening parade was a tribute to the working class of Australia. The aborigines too came, from beyond the pale, as a multicultural mascot. Cathy Freeman, Australia’s sprint queen, lit the flame. But then, just as Sydney 2000 was declared open amid a riot of colours, a group of aborigines lit another flame outside the stadium...



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