Our Sydney Olympic Games legacies live on, 20 years later

Jennifer Shand Jennifer Shand Australasia Press Office,Sydney
18 September 2020

Twenty years ago this week, the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games took place with Arup helping to make it one of the most successful Games ever.

Arup worked on 21 venues, the design of the public address systems, pedestrian modelling and the central control network. 

The ‘Green Games’ relied on Arup to help create environmentally responsible centres for sports including cycling, swimming, athletics, beach volleyball and tennis, public domains, transport hubs, exhibition halls and visitor centres.

International Tennis Centre, Sydney © Peter Hyatt

The world’s best players competed at the new Arup-engineered Tennis Centre at Homebush with its 10,000-seat circular Centre court, two show courts, seven match courts, six practice courts, players’ facilities and administration buildings. 

Arup’s contribution included structural, civil, geotechnical, acoustic, electrical, fire services, mechanical, HVAC, acoustic and traffic engineering. It was completed in two years, and nine months ahead of the Games.

The stadium won many awards including the Sulman Award for Excellence in Public Buildings.

This year, renamed Ken Rosewall Arena, it again welcomed the world’s best players for the ATP Cup after an upgrade which included a spectacular translucent canopy roof designed by Arup’s integrated team. Completed in 12 months, it is Australia’s first cable-tension stadium roof, providing shade and shelter for players and spectators, with natural ventilation.

Project Director Andrew Johnson has described it as “an extremely elegant solution that brings new life to an existing asset”. 

Footnote: The Sydney 2000 Olympics men’s singles champion was Russia’s Yevgeny Kafelnikov and the women’s was the USA’s Venus Williams who also won gold in the doubles with her sister Serena. It was at this Games that Roger Federer lost the bronze medal match but famously met his wife-to-be Mirka Vavrinec when they both represented Switzerland.