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Friday, August 25, 2000
Large fireworks show to mark end of Sydney Olympic Games

 SYDNEY, Australia (AP) -- A 14-kilometre river of lightning linking the Olympic stadium and the Sydney Harbor Bridge will trigger a giant fireworks display to mark the end of the 2000 Games.

 The final seconds of a fireworks display at the closing ceremonies at the Olympic stadium will start the long fuse, dubbed the "river of lightning" by organizers.

 Two million spectators are expected to cram the harbour shores to watch the display, while 16 giant screens will broadcast the event to city and regional centres in Australia.

 Olympic ceremonies artistic director David Atkins said the fuse will take about 21/2 minutes to trigger the fireworks on the bridge.

 Ignatius Jones, artistic director of the closing night festivities, said it was the first time the closing ceremony was taken out of the stadium to the people.

 Eight city buildings on both sides of the harbour will also shoot fireworks and a row of boats under the bridge will also unleash giant Roman candles.

 "It's been an enormous challenge given the harbour has been a platform for some of the world's most extraordinary fireworks displays," Atkins said.

 "The challenge was how do we do something on the harbour pyrotechnically that would exceed what's happened previously and at the same time, be symbolic with the message of Olympism."

 Pyrotechnists from the five continents, representing the Olympic rings, are taking part in the spectacular.

 Each of the international participants will create a three-minute display to be fired from four harbour locations.

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