Host City: Sydney, Australia
Venue(s): Dunc Gray Velodrome, Bass Hill, New South Wales
Date Started: September 21, 2000
Date Finished: September 21, 2000
Format: 240 laps (60 km.) with a sprint every 20 laps (5 km.). Sprint points awarded - 5-3-2-1 - to the first four finishers. Points on the last sprint doubled.
This was the Olympic début for Madison racing, named because it was originally pioneered at the Madison Square Garden in New York. The Madison is a mass-start event comprising teams of two riders per team. It is similar to a team points race, as points are awarded to the top finishers at the intermediate sprints and for the finishing sprint. Only one of the two team riders on the track is actively racing at any one time, riding for a number of laps, and then exchanging with his partner, who is propelled into the race by a hand sling from the cyclist leaving the action. World Championships had only been held in Madison racing since 1995, but it has its origins in six-day racing where it has been part of the event for many years. The Olympic distance has been 60 km. since it made the Olympic Program.
Fourteen teams came to the line. The Australian pair of Scott McGrory and Brett Aitken placed second in the first sprint and won the second sprint, moving ahead with eight early points. They continued to pile up sprint points, missing out only on the third and fourth sprints. By the 12th and final sprint, all they had to do was avoid being lapped and finish the race to win, which they did with 26 points, despite not contesting the final sprint. To do so, they had barely avoided a crash involving three teams on the ante-penultimate lap. The Belgian pair of Étienne De Wilde and Matthew Gilmore was in fourth place coming to the final lap, but won the finishing sprint for 10 points to move up to the silver medal. At the finish, Scott McGrory celebrated by slowing down raising his arms in triumph. As he did so, Italy’s Silvio Martinello moved past him for two points, which earned them the bronze medal over Great Britain. This was Australia’s first track gold in 16 years. Both riders dedicated their victory to their children. McGrory had lost his 4-month old son to heart failure in 1999 while Aitken’s 2-year-old daughter suffered from Rett Syndrome, a developmental disorder.