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Friday, September 29, 2000
Closing with a bang

By DAVE FULLER -- Toronto Sun

  SYDNEY -- The Sydney Games will end in an explosion of flames and fireworks that is expected to dwarf Australia's New Year's Eve millennium celebration -- and millions will be able to see the spectacular climax for free.

 As the Olympic flame is extinguished during the closing ceremony Sunday morning inside Olympic Stadium, two low-flying Air Force F-111s will swoop over the cauldron as if to pick it up.

 FUEL DUMP

 Seconds later, the jets will dump and burn their fuel over a river leading to the downtown Sydney harbour area , where pyrotechnic companies from five continents will detonate double the amount of fireworks seen on New Year's Eve.

 The famous Harbour Bridge will be lit up as part of a 14-kilometre pyrotechnic corridor from the Olympic site in Homebush to the downtown.

 "It's closure on a massive scale," artistic director Ignatius Jones said of the display. "Olympic closing ceremonies usually are regarded as the poor relation of opening ceremonies. We didn't want that sad moment where people say is that all there is?

 THE BIG SMOKE

 "We didn't want the Olympics to go out with a whimper. We wanted them to go out with a bang."

 The bad news is that it could take hours for the smoke to clear.

 About 9,000 tickets for the closing ceremony at Olympic Stadium -- worth $1,384 each -- remain unsold as tourists and Sydneysiders would rather catch the show at the harbour.
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