Olympic Opening, Sydney, 2000

From the official calendar:

The Opening Ceremony for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games will begin at 7pm (AEDT) on Friday, Sept. 15 and end three hours later at Stadium Australia at Homebush Bay. The order of proceedings is:


                         Heads of state arrival

                         Cultural section

                         Athletes Parade

                         Official opening/speech

                         Arrival of Olympic Flag


                         Oaths, athletes and judges

                         Arrival of torch bearer

                         Lighting of flame


The Australian Broadcasting System report described the ceremony's climax as follows:

"With a thunderous "G'Day" roar to the watching world, Australia launched the 2000 Olympics in a sizzling opening ceremony topped when Aboriginal runner Cathy Freeman lit the Olympic flame.

"After its 100-day journey carried by 11,000 torchbearers across the world, the Olympic flame arrived at its final destination to light up the sky above Stadium Australia for the next 17 days.

"The 27-year-old Freeman, Australia's gold medal hope over 400 metres and 200 metres, set the Olympic cauldron ablaze inside a pool of water as the 110,000 crowd roared their approval.

"She then waited for several confusing minutes - the pageant by now had already well exceeded its allocated time span - before the blazing cauldron slowly ascended a ramp over a fountain leading to its final position high above the stadium, unleashing a booming fireworks display which lit up the Sydney night sky."

The actual timing of events is difficult to determine, but several reports indicate it was drawn out, and the most direct indication of the time the flame was lit by Cathy Freeman was an observation that the ceremony was 4 hours and 20 minutes long. This would place the climax well after the nominal time, and the planned analysis thus is arbitrarily set to cover the period from 11:00 to 12:00, GMT, corresponding to 22:00 to 23:00 in Sydney. The result is a modest positive cumulative Chisquare of 3622.5 on 3600 df, with p = 0.393. The following figure shows the hour centered on the event.

Olympic Opening, Sydney

It is natural to ask how nearby eggs responded during this time, so the two eggs in New Zealand were separately extracted (we have none in Australia at the present time). Their data show a much larger deviation during the same time, with Chisquare = 3752.7 on 3600 df, and p = 0.037. The period of two hours, beginning at 9:00 pm in Sydney, shows a very strong trend, which starts shortly before the climax and continues for an hour or more, as shown in the next figure. The Chisquare is 7527 on 7200, for p = 0.0037. Neither of these latter analyses can be included in the formal assessment, but they are included here for their instructive value.

Olympic Opening, NZ eggs, Sydney

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