It was the giant leap of joy that all Australians will forever remember John Fahey for.
As the NSW Premier at the time – and one of the leaders of the bid committee for the Sydney 2000 Olympics – Fahey did not hold back when Sydney won the bid to bring the greatest sporting event in the world back to Australia.
Fahey’s reaction was unforgettable as he leapt into the air and embraced bid chief Rod McGeoch, triggering another million bear hugs in Australia as the news came through.
His death, at age 75, comes just as Australia is about to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Sydney Olympics – which Samaranch later declared to be the greatest Games ever.
“This is a very sad day, particularly as we approach the 20 year anniversary of the Sydney Olympics,” Australian Olympic Committee President John Coates said.
“Aside from all John’s considerable achievements in politics and personally, his contribution to the Olympic movement in Australia was immense.
“His drive and commitment was absolutely crucial in Sydney winning the bid to host the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and Australia owes him an enormous debt of gratitude for that alone.”
Fahey’s involvement in global sport didn’t end with the Sydney Olympics.
In 2008, he succeeded Canada’s Dick Pound as President of the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA), a role he held for six years.
“John will always be a big part of the Sydney 2000 success story, and as we prepare to celebrate 20 years since those Games began, it is very sad to think he cannot mark that milestone with us,” Coates said.
“My heartfelt condolences go out to Colleen, John’s family and all those who loved and admired him.”