Going for Gold!!

Being a predominantly English-speaking nation Australians were probably in the minority when it came to understanding what was going on during the psychedelic and brilliantly bonkers, crazy, colourful, musical, magical and certainly memorable opening and closing ceremonies!


British film producer Danny Boyle’s stunning opener made headlines around the world when 900 million* people watching globally saw the Queen make her acting debut opposite 007 James Bond – and once we got over the shock of seeing ‘HRH’ sky-dive into the stadium, it was business as usual.


Australia sent one of its largest teams ever to London, made up of 413 athletes competing in 23 sports, and this year’s key stars were mainly sailors, kayakers, swimmers and from track and field sports.


The first gold was achieved by the women’s 4 x 100 freestyle relay, with the swimming team scooping a total of ten medals overall, made up of one gold, six silver and three bronze.


Although the United States, China and the UK quickly took the top three spots – and remained there until the end – Australia asserted itself as the dominant nation in world sailing, with 470 sailors Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page winning our third gold medal of the regatta.

Earlier on in the Games, Australia’s first individual gold medallist was Central Coast Laser sailor Tom Slingsby, closely followed by golden girls, cyclist Anna Meares and hurdler Sally Pearson, who won one each.


Then it was back to the water, with Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen claiming Australia’s second gold for sailing, and the K4 1000 crew – Jacob Clear, Tait Smith, Murray Stewart and Dave Smith – also winning gold, as teenager Jess Fox outshone her rival white water kayakers to get silver.


And while we were beginning to rely on the water for gold orbs, Sydneysiders and Queenslanders knew that, as usual, they could also rely on the one in the sky – and while it drizzled in London,  fans at the Customs House and Circle on Cavill sites were mostly bathed in glorious sunshine as they watched their teams’ medal tallies increase on the super-screens.


The atmosphere was electric at Customs House and along with a flurry of on-site activity such as table-tennis, fussball and free goody bags, Games fans lined up to pose on the replica podium beneath the screen to receive a photograph of them winning their gold, silver and bronze ‘medals’.


By the end of the 17 days Australia, which hosted the Olympics in 2000, had amassed a haul of 35 medals (seven gold, 16 silver and 12 bronze), cementing us in the Top 10.