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September 22, 2000
The Millenium Games rocks, and rollsPaul Majendie
The petite gymnasts, their brows furrowed in concentration, prepare for their next big test. "OK, let's go girls," booms Shania Twain from the loudspeaker.
Down at Bondi Beach, the bikini-clad players pause for a second in the beach volleyball tournament. Between points there is time for a burst of "That's the way I like it, Ah-Ha, Ah-Ha".
Even at the archery tournament, where razor-sharp concentration and Zen-like calm are vital, the contestants are treated to a double-time version of the "William Tell Overture".
Welcome to the rock 'n' roll Olympics where the spectators are encouraged to get down and boogie from the Mexican wave to a spirited chorus of "If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands".
And no sporting session would be complete without a deafening chorus of "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi" by delirious fans daubed in green and yellow warpaint.
It is all a far cry from Barcelona where pop met classical music. Before his death from AIDS in 1991, Queen singer Freddie Mercury and opera star Montserrat Caballe united to record the haunting theme tune "Barcelona" that thundered from speakers everywhere.
Australians love their sport with a passion -- and they like to make as much noise as they can to create an atmosphere. At the Olympics, they are certainly getting a helping hand from the organisers.
Down at the baseball, it's Yankee Stadium with a generous lashing of Australiana.
As the Australian team stepped up to challenge Japan, out boomed the "Peter Gunn" theme. As they left to start their first inning, the somewhat bizarre choice was the French Can-Can.
And of course when the time came for the crowd to stretch their legs, out blasted "Take Me Out To The Ball Game".
"No sport is too ascetic for rock music. It is played at the fencing, the handball and the swimming," noted the Sydney Morning Herald.
Greg Bowman, executive musical producer for the organisers, said: "We have tried to make sure the songs have a really Australian flavour but we don't want to favour any particular team or give them an advantage."
So the man who picks the tracks and pays the rights said: "We have to keep an international feel to it."
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