The final day of the MAA Sydney 2000 Paralympic Torch Relay got off to a good start, with author Bryce Courtenay carrying the flame along Campbell Parade at Australia’s famous Bondi Beach.
This well-known author and speaker has lectured in many countries on the power of the individual to achieve any end purpose, an ideal which mirrors the ideals of the Paralympic movement. Courtenay is best known as Australia’s top selling novelist with titles including The Power of One, April Fools Day, The Potato Factory, Jessica and his most recent novel, Tommo & Hawk.
It was certainly a day for the stars to shine, as Courtenay handed the flame to Aussie actress Claudia Karvan. Karvan has appeared in Heartbreak Kid, Love and Other Catastrophes, Dating the Enemy and Paperback Hero. Today she was the star of Bondi as hundreds of people cheered for her when she received the Paralympic flame.
The torch wove its way down Sydney’s eastern beaches to Clovelly, where singer Jon Stevens carried the flame. Stevens has established himself as one of Australia’s premier singer/songwriters through his chart-topping days with Noiseworks, and lead roles in the musicals Jesus Christ Superstar and Happy Days: The Arena Mega Musical. Jon has been a great supporter of the Torch Relay and wrote and performed the Sydney 2000 Olympic Torch Relay anthem, ‘Carry the Flame’.
Television and radio personality Amanda Keller also carried the torch today, running along Coogee Beach and broadcasting live to radio station 2MMM as she ran.
Torchbearer 16 Ross Whyte had a colourful time at his exchange point as the crowd flew kites in the shapes of flowers and fish over him. A dual Paralympian, Ross competed in the 5000m in Seoul and Barcelona as well as the Nottingham Games for people with cerebral palsy in England in 1989, the World Championships for the Disabled in Holland in 1990 and the New Zealand Games for People with Disabilities in 1993. Now retired from competitive running, he still joins in Sydney’s City to Surf race each year.
On this Opening Ceremony day, thousands of school children were out in force again to support the Torchbearers with the crowds being very excited about tonight’s celebrations. Campsie had some of the biggest crowds along Beamish Street where there were balloons, streamers and flags everywhere.
From there the flame toward the Olympic Stadium, and the Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony.