The Sydney Morning Herald from Sydney, New South Wales on August 6, 1996 · Page 2
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August 6, 1996

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The Sydney Morning Herald from Sydney, New South Wales · Page 2

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Sydney, New South Wales
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Tuesday, August 6, 1996
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THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD TUESDAY, AUGUST 6, 1996 Bpnpc BnairadeTOntBue sweon QHHBonaites mi 19 seconds - - t -v.. y i '1 'A : 14 .'V' Heralding the Sydney Games, a didgeridoo summons ... ... blow-up kangaroos on bicycles pedalled by a dozen Sydney boys ... three giant waratahs whirl .., 1 & . . o I rt-.j CLOSING COVERAGE The first, in a lone line of crinees By DAVID MARR We must all. understand from now on that embarrassment is part of the Olympic Spirit It's a key to us surviving the next four difficult years until the torch goes out in Homebush. All of us are going to be embarrassed some of the time by the Olympic image of ourselves. But how much are we expected to bear? Perhaps you joined the chorus of derision when the kangaroos appeared in the Atlanta stadium they seemed to be enjoying illegal congress with the kids pedalling the bikes but on the corner of Market and Castlereagh streets in Sydney the sight of the kangaroos brought a burst of delighted laughter from a little crowd which had stood around for hours, otherwise impassive, watching the closing ceremony. From this vantage in front of a bank of sets in David Jones's window, I can report that our seven minutes in Atlanta didn't stop the traffic. Shopping never of the players travelled "for the first time ever on an aeroplane" to come to the Games. At that point we lost the first of our footpath jury. An Aborigine, she seemed suddenly embarrassed and walked away. Indeed, there was a bit of a drift in the crowd from this point, despite the good laugh over the kangaroos. So much of it seemed so unlike us: there was Sydney Harbour without a sail in sight Here was a squad of lifesavers dressed, not in icon caps and Speedos, but in flashy merman suits that turned them into dancing boys. There had been rumours for a week or so in Sydney that this portrait of life in the next Olympic city would include a squad of drag queens. When the first feathers of the sulphur-crested cockatoos appeared, I feared the worst. But they turned out just to be women dressed in silly costumes. Channel 7 called cockatoos gregarious and noisy. But they are also, of course, sight of Frank Sartor, Lord Mayor of Sydney, twirling the Olympic flag. His amusement was infectious. Imagine what it would feel like out there knowing you were watched by 31 . billion people, even though your city fiefdom doesn't come within miles of Homebush. Was the Mayor of Auburn, I wondered, somewhere out in the crowd? The Atlanta show had to start with didgeridoos. It's a tradition as old as Australia. The music was haunting and the Bangarra dancers as wonderful as they always are. I know commentating is a hard game, but perhaps Sandy Roberts of Channel 7 didn't need to mention that six U ruthless, stupid and destructive. Soon everyone was going round and round in circles like a little version of the grand parade. And that was it. Here on a night of glittering American circus, with some of the greatest stars in the West, we were presenting a few minutes of the Royal Easter Show. The crowd was puzzled until the long white worms rose in the air to show the profile of the Opera House and then we got the kind of applause they do so well in Atlanta a blaze of flashes. - Bangarra held the night together, dancing up there on a pink ottoman. As they were leaving there was a moment that was exactly as the world should see us the dancers throwing handfuls of dust in the Atlanta air. Thank God for their dignity and sense of themselves. The jury drifted off. How was it? I asked the only one who had stood there with me all through those hours. "Wonderful," he said. He was from France. And as this is a country of glitz and excess, one big name after another was rolled out (literally, as moving stages were the favoured conveyance). A spotlight came up on Gloria Estefan. Then Stevie Wonder. And Wynton Marsalis. And as always happens at closing ceremonies, the athletes improvised a party, running on to the stadium and wrecking any sense of order. A throng of athletes, including many Australians, overran a stage on which Estefan was perched, causing her accompanying musicians obvious concern. In the end, however, (and things didn't end until close to midnight) it w as all mostly good fun. Atlanta, for all its faults, had pulled off one enormous, head-splitting, performance. Sydney, the new custodian of the Olympic flag, has a big and bold act to follow. Roos give firm a bounce Now it's time for US tO let the fun and Games begin Australia's inflatable cycling kangaroos may be back for the Sydney Olympics, with the company that created them keen to be involved in the 2000 Games. Mr Robert Waddell, director of Rooftop Balloons Australia, of Wetherill Park, said he could not reveal whether his company had been hired for the 2000 Games. "We would love to be involved with that event," he said yesterday. Twelve of the 2.5-metre, eight-kilogram kangaroos were From Page 1 If not officially the best, these were certainly the biggest Games. More spectators - close to 1 1 million - saw events than at Seoul and Barcelona combined. They were also, because of the Centennial Olympic Park-bombing after the first week of competition, the most traumatic Games since the Munich massacre in 1972. Mr Samaranch referred to the tragedies in both Atlanta and Munich in his speech, in w hich he said: "No act of terrorism has destroyed the Olympic movement, and none ever will." Somewhat coyly, Atlanta's Games chief, Mr Billy Payne, referred only to the time "when our celebration was interrupted". With the bombing still unsolved, it seemed appropriate that the closing ceremony began with an Atlanta Police blimp high above the stadium. The procam THE DESIGNER Wfammm, , -'sv I ,'' I , . - : 1 f' A - . . I -: f - . ' - t i". - MI U V)iA yoM Sec -the lose b,ts e,elely) 3 S the closing or 11 cws kicked off with an a cappella version of The Star Spangled Banner - not that another rendition was needed, as the US has dominated Olympic competition over the past 16 days. The closing ceremony itself w as much like the Games themselves: way over the top, grand in scale, and not quite running according to schedule. The program was anything but minimalist but I thought it was perfectly justified. It was fun." Mr Birch, who worked on the opening and closing ceremonies for both the Los Angeles and the Barcelona Olympics, says he used the kangaroo theme yesterday "so at least people would know we were talking about Australia". But the kangaroos costumes worn by children riding bikes provided one of the few anxious moments in the brief ceremony. A " if -(How iVwplauJible.' An 1 mm a faltered. The 303 to Sans Souci sailed by. Lawyers on the track between courts and chambers didn't pause. As the didgeridoos began in the stadium, a busker on the corner opposite took out his trumpet and played Dream the Impossible Dream. He had an audience of two. Frankly, the jury showed not not much pleasure in the ceremony. Indeed, there was only a handful of us on our corner before the national anthem was played and Samaranch appeared to summon the youth of the world to Sydney. (He hasn't found the 'd' in the word but I rate this a personal best) We started to loosen up at the built over six months, Mr Waddell said. The lightweight nylon creations were commissioned by the National Institute of Dramatic Art design team. They were designed to compress into a backpack, and were fitted with rapid-inflation devices. They were built at Wetherill Park along with three inflatable waratah flowers, and were painted at another location to a design created by an Aboriginal artist. 31 $59.95 $79.95 $79.95 $79.95 73? $299.00 $499.00 $499.00 $120.00 $130.00 $189.95 is presented at the closing ceremony. Photograph by vincecalgiuri Australia may winee, but the world loves them GOWINGS Blows away August values By GLENDA K0RP0RAAL Ric Birch concedes that some Australians might have found the kangaroos in yesterday's performance at the closing ceremony of the Atlanta Olympics a little corny. But the man in charge of Australia's seven-minute ceremony says "the Americans would clap or applaud. It would only be corny in Australia. "It's always a difficult call, THE TUNSTALL AFFAIR Were Now Gowings Cotton Rich Town Shirts $44.95 $39.95 Gowings 100 Cotton Town Shirts $54.95 $49.95 Gold Crest Pima Cotton Shirts $79.95 $49.95 Van Heusen Business Shirts . from $36.95 Aborigines are not offended by my jokes , says Arthur Bonds Ringer T-Shirts $14.95 $11.95 Authentic Windcheater $39.95 $29.95 Various Long & Short Sleeve Cotton Knits 40 Off Goodbye Atlanta ... the flag Samaranch. Mr Samaranch told Sydney Olympic Games organisers that Sydney was off to a very good start Mr Birch was also relieved that the white sails of the blow-up Opera House worked, given the lack of time his cast had had to rehearse inside the Olympic Stadium. The official rehearsal set for last Wednesday was cancelled by Atlanta Games organisers who Seoul and Barcelona Olympics. US and Korean officials have been at loggerheads over allegations of corrupt judging at all three Games. Mr Tunstall was in charge of the review of technical aspects of the boxing program following the Seoul Olympics. He is vice-president of the International Boxing Federation and is also technical director in Atlanta. Mr John Coates, the chef de mission of the Australian team, said yesterday: "I don't want to be drawn on the issue until the full story is known. Any adverse comment against Mr Tunstall would do him a great injustice." Australian Olympic officials pointed out that Mr Tunstall was not part of the Australian team in Atlanta and therefore the incident cast no aspersions on Australia's role at the Olympics. Aboriginal boxer Tony Mun-dine labelled Mr Tunstall a "silly old man" and said he should have been removed from sports administration years ago. "He's one of those guys that wants to put blacks down all the time," Mundine said. ". . . He should bow out. He's a silly old man." past week, only coming down to Atlanta yesterday morning. Mr Birch says the ceremonies he will do for the 2000 Games will be nothing like the brief ceremony in Atlanta yesterday. He is particularly keen to use Sydney Harbour for part of the closing ceremony in 2000. "Sydney has a history of celebrating on the harbour. It's conceivable that we could have a part of the ceremony on the harbour." i'liUM-t'iiE'iii'miii'iiii!-:! am would not let the performers onto the arena, which was to be used for track and field the next day. More than 100 schoolchildren, professional dancers from the Bangarra Aboriginal dance group and some traditional Aboriginal dancers from Amhem Land as well as 30 lifesavers were all part of the ceremony. They have been rehearsing in the town of Athens, about an hour north of Atlanta, for the H"iVilii!Jiii?TTlTM7 w aw i (EST I 3 Sack him, says ATSIC chairman The acting chairman of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) yesterday called for the sacking of Mr Arthur Tunstall after it was alleged that he referred to Aborigines as "black bastards" while at the Atlanta Olympics. Mr Ray Robinson said: "It's disgusting that Tunstall is an official over there and he makes this type of remark about Aboriginal people when our Aboriginal people are winning a gold medal and a silver." kangaroo tail got caught in the spoke of a child's bike and threatened disaster until a helper managed to stabilise them. "It was a pity because the kids had been riding them in rehearsals and everything had worked fine," said Mr Birch. He was particularly pleased that his creation had been given the seal of approval by the International Olympic Committee president, Mr Juan Antonio as a sports administrator is all but over following the latest allegations of racism. Officially he is only under investigation over jokes he told allegedly vilifying Aborigines during the boxing competition in Atlanta. But unofficially, several members accompanying the Australian team in Atlanta were late last night discussing ways of removing him from office. The Federal . Minister for Sport, Mr Smith, is upset about the allegations and is personally involved in the investigations. But Tunstall supporters in Atlanta said last night that US boxing officials who levelled the latest charges had tried to frame him because of anger over incidents during the Los Angeles, By ROY MASTERS and ADAM HARVEY Arthur Tunstall was in his Atlanta hotel room last night, seeking refuge from members of the media lurking m the lobby. The boxing head had nothing to say about his latest backfiring Aboriginal joke brought to the world's attention by the American boxing officials he told it to. Mr Tunstall allegedly referred to Aborigines as "black bastards". But speaking to the Herald by phone, he said he had always had a strong relationship with Aborigines. "I've had dealings with Aboriginal people all my life. I meet Aboriginal people through boxing . . . and I don't have, any trouble with them." Aborigines were not offended by his jokes, he said. Mr Tunstall's sense of humour got him into trouble last May, when he made the infamous "pearly gates" joke about Aboriginal athletes Cathy Freeman and Lionel Rose. The joke allegedly says St Peter refused to let Freeman and Rose into heaven. God tells him the heaven Olympics is coming up so he better let them in. Peter goes away, but soon returns and Gowings Poly-viscose Business Trousers Sax Altman Permanent Press Trousers City Club 'Statesman' Trousers Gowings Poly Wool Business Trousers Gowings Wool Blend 2 Trouser Suits Cool Wool 2 Trouser Suits Pure Wool 2 Trouser Suits Assorted Senso Business Shoes Baxter 'Warren' Brogues Rock port Business Brogues & Toe Caps OPEN 7 days SUNDAY 11 am-5pm says to God: "They're gone." God: "Cathy and Lionel are gone?" St Peter: "No, the pearly gates." That joke did not harm his relationship with 'the 1968 world boxing champion, Mr Tunstall said last night Mr Rose had been very friendly to him when he saw him a few months ago. Mr Tunstall has a long history of negative publicity. In 1994 he said disabled athletes at the Commonwealth Games were art embarrassment and criticised Cathy Freeman for carrying the Aboriginal flag during her victory lap. Mr Tunstall said Aborigines not only found his jokes amusing, they told similar jokes about themselves. However, Mr Tunstall's role