A human face
The 24th Olympiad was, swimming apart, more notable for the intensity of the struggle for victory rather than the setting of a plethora of new records.
The reason may partly be due to the increased intensity of the anti-doping campaign that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had finally made a top priority.
For the last major rendezvous under his tenure, IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch qualified the Games as the greatest ever, and the traditional compliment to the host city actually rang true in Sydney.
The 2000 Games were a far less commercial affair than Atlanta had been four years earlier, despite a 3.6 billion euro organisation bill Sydney 2000 had a far more human face than its predecessor.
Their much awaited Queen Marion Jones had come to lay claim to a record five gold medals.
She got three of them and settled happily for bronze in the other two. She was both dignified in defeat and focussed on her aim in the wake of her husband CJ Hunter's failed doping test.
However she also would fall from grace years later when she admitted doping and was stripped off her medals before serving a prison sentence for purgery.
The anti-doping war
The banned and shamed Hunter became something of a symbol of the war on doping. 3,600 dope tests were carried out on participants at and before the Games and 60 people were disqualified when returning positive samples.
The case of Romanian gymnast Andreea Raducan was telling in its severity.
The IOC showed no mercy when Raducan, who had won the all-round gymnastics gold, was stripped of the honour after testing positive.
While it was accepted that she had taken a cold remedy administered by the team doctor and that she was not personally responsible, she was regardlessly found guilty.
"Doping will be an eternal scourge. It is a war we will never win," declared the president of the International Swimming Federation Mustapha Larfaoui, in response to the 15 world records equalled or beaten in the Sydney pool.
Famous for its relaxed atmosphere the security at Sydney, which cost 244 million dollars, was comprehensive yet discreet.
While some 5,600 soldiers were called in to back up the police, gone were the menacing matt-black pump-action shot-guns and semi-automatic machine-guns so menacingly touted at Barcelona in 1992.
More than 600 specialist anti-terrorist officers were also deployed, notably around the Olympic village where organisors worked hard to avoid lending the village a fortress like visage.
The Games went off without serious incident and lived up to the party billing it had received in advance.
Copyright 2012 Agence France-Presse.