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Sydney 2000 - Overview

Sydney sprint queen was doped

Marion Jones threw down the gauntlet at Sydney targetting five gold medals, so the three Olympic titles and two bronze she went home with had a certain air of underachievement about them even then.

Seven years later Jones admitted having taken anabolic steroids and THG and was not only forced to hand back her medals but served six months in prison for perjury.

She had been hoping to go one further than Jesse Owens (1936) or Carl Lewis (1984) who had won four titles. She achieved the sprint double 100m and 200m before adding the 4x400m relay, yet had to settle for broze in the 4x100m and the long jump.

Another great fell short of the mark he'd set himself, Australian swim sensation Ian Thorpe with his size 17 flipper-feet.

"Thorpedo" as he became known, was unexpectedly blasted out of the water by

Dutchman Pieter van den Hoogenband, who won the 100m and 200m freestyle golds.

Thorpe's only individual gold came in his favoured 400m freestyle event but he also left with two relay golds.

There were many other great Olympians in action too. Motor-mouthed American speed king Maurice Greene fullfilled his promise by winning the 100m, Britain's Jonathan Edwards won the triple jump and Cuba's Ivan Pedroso the long-jump.

Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie was once more crowned 10,000m king, and the Czech Republic's Jan Zelezny won his third javelin gold.

Emphasis on sport rather than cash

The Netherlands had a good games with cyclist Leontien van Moorsel-Zijlaard and swimmer Inge de Bruijn both winning three gold medals.

In the judo competition, French heavyweight David Douillet confirmed his dominance of the sport with a second consecutive gold.

British rowing veteran Steven Redgrave needed no such confirmation but went ahead and won a gold medal at his fifth consecutive Games and swore when climbing from his boat to never again step foot in one.

Holding a world record is no guarantee of Olympic success as Morocco's 1500m man Hicham El-Gerrouj discovered.

Denmark's Kenyan-born Wilson Kipketer held the 800m record but he too was beaten in his speciality.

Russian wrestler Alexandre Kareline and Turkish weightlifter Naim Suleymanoglu were both foiled as they chased a third consecutive title.

The anti-doping campaign at Sydney was stringent to the point of injustice as Romanian gymnast Andrea Raducan found out when stripped of her all-round gold medal after testing positive due to a cold remedy.

Australia is a nation which holds sporting endeavour in the highest regard and after the commercial orgy at Atlanta 96, the Olympic movement could not have chosen a host more dedicated purely to sport rather than the money flushing round it.

Copyright 2008 Agence France-Presse.

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