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Sport Sydney 2000: Remembering the moment 15-year-old Leisel Jones became Australia's youngest Olympic medal winner since Shane Gould

13:46  18 september  2020
13:46  18 september  2020 Source:   sportingnews.com

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These are six moments that made the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games so great – with a slight bias to Aussie’s bringing home the gold. The four-hour spectacle saw 12,687 people perform and parade in a journey through Australia ’ s history and landscape, followed a then 13- year - old Nikki Webster.

Australia was the host nation for the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney . Australian athletes have competed in every Summer Olympic Games.

Sporting News is going to look back on the 2000 Olympics and pick one moment from each day of competition to celebrate the 20th anniversary.

You can look back at yesterday's moment here, Michael Diamond winning gold in the Men's Trap Shooting event.

When Leisel Jones collected her silver medal in the 100m breaststroke at the Sydney 2000 Olympics, it was easy to forget that she was only 15.

Jones had qualified as the youngest member of the Australian Swim Team for the Games.

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14 year old Leisel Jones knocks off the whose who of Australian Breastroke to qualify for the 100m Breastroke at the Sydney 2000 Olympics | An emotional

Leisel Marie Jones , OAM (born 30 August 1985) is an Australian former competition swimmer and A participant in the 2000 Summer Olympics – at just 15 years old – and 2004 Summer Olympics , she In 2009, Jones became the new face of the World Animal Protection Australia & New Zealand

Yet the teenager was the overwhelming favourite for Australia in the event and many thought she could do the unthinkable and win a gold medal.

Years before her in 1972, Shane Gould stunned the world as a 15-year-old in Munich, winning three gold medals in three separate world-record times.

As the Sydney 2000 Olympics came around, there was an expectation that Jones might do the same.

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South Africa's Penny Heyns went into the event as the World and Olympic Record holder after an incredible four years of domination.

She had won two gold medals in Atlanta in 1996 and was looking to do the same in Sydney.

Jones had to go through a huge list of high-profile Australian swimmers to even qualify for the event.

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A nation remembers the magic moment that united all of Australia as a champion indigenous athlete claimed She became the first indigenous Australian to win an individual Olympic event. At least 9 million more were glued to televisions as the 28- year - old made history. Australia had won only five track and field gold medals since the 1960 Rome Olympics , making Freeman' s performance all the

Australia has competed in swimming at the Summer Olympics since the 1900 Summer Olympics in Paris, after only sending a runner, Edwin Flack, to the 1896 Summer Olympics . Frederick Lane was Australia ' s sole swimming representative at the 1900 Games, winning two individual gold medals .

She got past the likes of Samantha Riley and Brooke Hanson to book her Olympic ticket in a quite incredible race.

At this point, she was only 14 as well.

"I'm absolutely amazed," Jones said after she qualified.

"First Olympic team at 14? I never imagined it."

But Jones wasn't the only teenager trying to cause a massive upset.

16-year-old American Megan Quann had travelled to Australia with a lot of hype around her name, as you'd expect for any teenager who had qualified for the Olympics.

But it set up an intriguing battle with no one quite sure who was going to triumph.

In the heats, Quann, Heyns and Jones were the three fastest swimmers. They were also the only three to swim sub-1:08 times.

In the first semifinal, it was a South African who recorded the fastest time, but it wasn't Heyns.

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Sarah Poewe swam an incredible 1:07.48 to qualify fastest.

Heyns qualified but it wasn't at her usually rapid pace.

The second semifinal featured Quann and Jones and the story there was more routine. They finished first and second respectively.

But Poewe's incredible semifinal swim had her in lane four for the final. Quann was in five, Jones was in six and Heyns was all the way out in lane two.

We also can't forget to mention Tarnee White, the second Australian to qualify for the final with the seventh-fastest time.

With the women on the starting blocks, it was Heyns out in lane two who got the best start, diving out to an early lead.

The South African-World Record holder hit the wall at the end of the first lap 0.06 seconds quicker than her record time.

She was almost a body length ahead of the likes of Quann and Jones.

The Australian teenager that everyone had their eyes on was all the way back in 5th.

Even with 25 metres to go, it looked like Heyns' race to lose but then she started to fade away.

The battle was then between Quann and Jones for the gold medal.

The American pushed ahead and despite an incredible final lap from the Australian, she couldn't hunt her down.

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Leisel Jones . Personal information and olympic statictics of the athlete. She won 9 olympic medals in 2000 , 2004, 2008, 2012 in Swimming. Medals . Great Moments . Olympic Headlines. Medal Statistics. TOTAL. 3. 5. 1. 2000 - SYDNEY . 200 m Breaststroke. 2. JONES Leisel . Australia .

Phelps was just 15 years old when he made his Olympic debut at the 2000 Games in Sydney . Though he didn't medal in Australia , the young Phelps put the world on Phelps would go on to win eight medals at the 2004 Athens Olympics , eight in Beijing in 2008, six in London in 2012 and six in Rio.

Jones' time in the final was a personal best. For a 15-year-old to produce an effort like that, on the biggest stage of all, speaks volumes of her character and ability.

"Never (thought I'd win) a silver medal at the Olympics, oh my god," Jones said post-race.

"I'm so shocked."

Her family were there to witness the start of her Olympic journey. In Jones' words they were seven rows from the back, but they still had a 'great view'.

Speaking on the Australian Olympic Team's podcast, My Sydney 2000, to celebrate the 20th anniversary, Jones gave a side of the Sydney Games that not many people may have realised.

Being only 15, Jones didn't get to enjoy a lot of the experiences of the Games that her fellow athletes might have been able to.

"My memory must be pretty awful because I don't remember all the highlights people seem to remember and all the wonderful things, I remember really random things," Jones said.

"I had just turned 15 so I did not get to experience a lot of the things that a lot of people got to experience like The Last Lap or really fun parties or going to nightclubs.

"People have these really incredible stories of Sydney 2000 and unfortunately I was stuck back at the village most of the time.

"I remember eating McDonald's cookies and things like that. Really small things like that are what I remember the most because they were the things I can do."

Head over here to listen to the rest of the recent podcast episode with Jones.

Sydney 2000 was just the beginning for Lethal Liesel.

Over the next 12 years, Jones would become one of the best female swimmers of all time.

She won a total of 21 gold medals representing Australia. That included three Olympic golds, 10 Commonwealth golds and seven at the World Championships.

After competing at the 2012 Games in London, Jones also became the first Australian swimmer to compete at four Olympics.

And to think, that all started from this incredible journey as a 15-year-old back in Sydney.

You can watch the entire Women's 100m Breaststroke Final From The Sydney Olympics here.

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