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The Torch Relay
By Audrey Goh

I’ve always been fascinated with the whole process of the Olympic Torch Relay especially with the number of lives being touched by this gesture. The spirit shines forth with this simple act of passing a dream and vision and the symbolic move of gathering the whole world at one place. Nothing can be more powerful than the Relay.

The Olympic spirit is not about being the fastest or the strongest. It has nothing to do with fame or the number of gold medals one wins. It is about team spirit and human courage in the face of adversity, the overpowering emotion that touches you immediately. Perhaps the Olympic Torch Relay’s official statement will sum up the sentiment of this event:

"The Olympic Games are about being part of something bigger than yourself, sharing the history, spirit, ceremony and tradition of the most enduring and admirable human event of all time and the Torch Relay literally and figuratively embodies this sense of sharing - from the simple connection of two individuals as the torch is passed from one to the next to the sharing of the spirit of the Torch Relay with all Australians and the entire world".

Hence Australians and the world will once again experience this historical moment during the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. The journey of the Torch Relay is a fascination in itself. It will be lit early May in Olympia and transferred to Guam, Micronesia by aircraft. The next leg will go through Oceania prior to its arrival in Australia at Ayers Rock (Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park) on June 8, 2000 via Ansett Airlines, the official airline for the Sydney 2000 Games.

The torch will claim many firsts in Australia as it travels through cities, the bush, and the outback deserts. It will fly across the sky, ‘swim’ underwater in the Great Barrier Reef, and stay overnight at the famous resort village Port Douglas at the Great Barrier Reef. Moving along the Kuranda Range outside Cairns, the torch will travel on the world famous Skyrail rainforest cable car. Its ‘transportation’ style is really interesting as some parts of the journey will involve camels (on Cable Beach), sailing on a surf-boat (on the famous Bondi Beach in Sydney), zipping on the Indian Pacific train (across the Nullarbor Desert), and flying on board a Royal Flying Doctor Service aircraft (Australia’s outback).

The Torch Relay will last for 100 days with 10,000 Australians from all walks of life participating in it. It will be proudly borne by all, traveling through some of the world’s most virginal scenery and areas of historic cultural significance. This historic journey around Australia will also cover a cost of over A$20 million dollars. Other notable facts are the use of a traveling convoy of 150 crew using over 50 vehicles. An estimated of 123,000 liters of fuel will be consumed along with 45,000 meals. Over 6500 hotel rooms will be filled and 1000 towns and cities passed through. This joyous occasion will also be celebrated through 188 separate functions covering over 27,000 km. This will be the longest Torch Relay in Olympic history, thus granting the Sydney Olympic recognition for logistic planning. For more information, check the official site for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games or the Sydney2000Online.

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