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|| News Item: Posted 2000-02-23

Olympic Update
By Tim Clayton, Sydney Morning Herald

A few emails my way have been asking what the Olympic Media Village is like... until last week, I was unable to answer as I hadn't seen it.

Photo by
One of the contractors who have built a fair few of the homes were keen to get some publicity in the Sydney Morning Herald regarding the sale of the homes after the games. These will be on sale for A$53,000 and the company is prepared to relocate the homes free of charge in a 200-mile radius of Sydney.

Not a bad little, pre-Olympic story and I was duly dispatched to take some photographs.

The security man on the gate let me in, the contractor met me, I reported to the Olympic office on site where for the next hour or so phone calls were made, permission to photograph was finally denied by 'de government' and I left without taking the camera out of my car.

This all seemed rather pathetic really as you can see the homes from the road through the security fence and the homes in question can be photographed at other private sites and interior photographs are available from the contractor. Usual BS!

While waiting for permission to photograph however, I did look around a couple of the homes and got a pretty good idea what the site was like...are you ready?

First Impressions...

Oh my god, what the f**k have they done!

Driving past the security office, you can see the rows and rows of 'huts' (sorry I mean homes!) in regimental uniformity. A French crew has described it as "looking like a prisoner of war camp" and I had to agree.

I shook my head in disbelief. My first thought was: the French and Italians are going to go nuts! The Germans might like it though! (Only kidding you Germans! Where's your sense of humour!) Once the watch tower is built, it should complete the site and I reckon after the Olympics instead of selling the homes they should just use it as a film set, it's nearly perfect!

After the initial shock... Looking in a couple of homes, I was actually presently surprised. Having stayed at the Media Village in Nagano (for the 1998 Winter Olympics) I had some interior to compare it with.

Each 'home' contained six bedrooms, three bathrooms, a small communal area and a small kitchen. The hot water is available 24 hours a day through the system installed. The bedrooms are quite small, single bed space only but for those who went to Nagano I would say the rooms are slightly larger, but not by much.

Each room will have cable TV AND a Fax line you can plug into. I was concerned about the security on the windows as everything is on ground level. The contractor who showed me the home made the point that "there homes were heaps better than the other contractors homes", which I didn't get to see inside, but certainly looked inferior from the outside, but I expect will have a similar interior!

An overview... The big plus is the location of the site as you're so close to Homebush. It's probably a 10-minute ride at most to the MPC or main stadium. If you're a hard working journo, not too bothered about the bright lights, big city, just want to work and sleep and
maybe a few beers and a laugh in the press bar in the Media Village at Camp Media, then this place might be for you.

Its not the Hilton, the jokes will be flowing I can assure you! Bring a trowel for the tunneling and if you don't like it, don't worry, you'll be shot!

Personally, after the initial shock, I would be quite happy to stay there as I don't need to see Sydney, which I reckon would take you between 20-30 minutes to get to by cab ($30-40) There is not much night life nearby, you really are in Knowheresville! The homes situated next to the three lane highway might have some noise problems, but, as long as the air raid siren doesn't go off every hour, everyone else should be OK!

Conclusion... If you want to 'have your cake and eat it' a hotel in the city is the way to go, provided the transport is good and we won't know that 'till the Fat Lady sings!

If all goes well, you'll have been to the best games ever in one of the best city's in the world! The media village is just what it says, "a village", practical, hopefully efficient, very convenient and workable, but you could be anywhere.

I have tried to be as honest in my assessments as I can and hope for those who are staying at the village, you will at least be prepared for the initial shock of what I'm sure your first impressions will be.

Once you're over that, hopefully things will be fine! As long as you don't try and escape of course!

(Tim Clayton is a staff photographer for the Sydney Morning Herald.)

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