The Sydney Olympics is coming up to its 20-year anniversary.

Feel old yet?

But while we all have our own memories about where we were when the lone stockman rode out into the arena to kick off the Opening Ceremony, there was some stuff going on behind the scenes.

The creatively-named ‘The Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games Sydney 2000 Uncovered’ spills the tea on the night’s successes… but also the near-disasters.

The first of which, actually included the stockman. Yes, right at the beginning.

The conductor who was meant to start the whole performance with The Man From Snowy River, loses all communication.

“So, he had no cue to go, it goes completely dead,” Mark Beretta admitted to Botica’s Bunch on Monday.


“In his words he said, ‘I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t’, so he put his baton up in the air and started the orchestra, and that was the start of the Opening Ceremony.”

Hit PLAY below to hear the full chat!

Beretts also mentioned the drama that happened moments after Cathy Freeman lighted the cauldron around her feet in a ring of fire. The cauldron rose out from the water but suffered a technical glitch which nearly ended in a very much unwanted first for Australia.

“We were that close to being the first nation ever to put out the Olympic flame in the Opening Ceremony,” he said.

Another thing that nearly didn’t happen? Nikki Webster.


“Originally the script called for that role to be a young boy,” Beretts said. “The artistic director had to fight for it to be a girl, and for it to be Nikki Webster.”

Towards Tokyo: The Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games Sydney 2000 Uncovered, Tuesday July 28, 9.15pm on Channel 7 and 7plus

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