Host City: Sydney, Australia
Date Started: September 16, 2000
Date Finished: September 23, 2000
Participants: 954 (558 men and 396 women) from 150 countries
Youngest Participant: Fatima Abdul Majeed (12 years, 181 days)
Oldest Participant: Ricardo Busquets (35 years, 354 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): Dara Torres and Ian Thorpe (5 medals)
Most Medals (Country): United States (33 medals)
Perhaps no other country in the world uses swimming as a benchmark for sporting success more than Australia so it was no surprise that the sport became a focus for public and media attention in Sydney. It also helped that Australia had their strongest team in a generation spearheaded by Grant Hackett, Susie O'Neill and a supremely talented teenager named Ian Thorpe.
It took Thorpe little time to make an indelible impression on the Games as by the end of the first day on competition he had already collected two Olympic titles. His two golds, in the 400 metres freestyle and 4 x 200 freestyle relay were both achieved in world record time but in much different circumstances. Thorpe's individual win was quite straightforward but the relay was achieved only when he produced an improbable comeback on the final leg to beat the American team. In all he won five medals, three gold and two silver, and emerged as one of the stars of the Games.
Three men completed the 100/200 double, Pieter van den Hoogenband in freestyle, Domenico Fioravanti in breaststroke and Lenny Krayzelburg in backstroke. Krayzelburg was the only man to match Thorpe's gold medal tally after adding a medley relay title to his collection.
The outstanding female swimmer of the Games was Dutchwoman Inge de Bruijn who won three individual golds whilst Diana Mocanu, Brooke Bennett and Yana Klochkova each won two titles. The other swimmer to win three gold medals was American Jenny Thompson who took her career total to eight, each one having been won as part of a relay team.
Making his Olympic début was a 15-year-old American named Michael Phelps who placed fifth in the 200 metres butterfly. The world would hear more from him in the decade to come.
The USA topped the medal table with 14 gold medals and 33 in total which was some way ahead of Australia. This began a three Olympic stretch where the two countries would be clearly the strongest nations in the sport.