As soon as the President of the International Olympic Committee, Juan Antonio Samaranch, memorably announced that “the winner is Sy-da-ney!” in 1993, Archbishop Harry Goodhew recognised a valuable evangelism opportunity. The Archbishop’s Olympic Games Taskforce was established that same year in order to assist the diocese and local parishes to use the Olympics as a catalyst for evangelism and outreach programs, both to their local communities and the anticipated influx of visitors. The interdenominational group Quest was also co-ordinating outreach programs.
A substantial collection of reports, correspondence, publicity and ephemera now held in the archives demonstrates the extent of the program and the relationships that the Taskforce had with SOCOG as well as other mission and ministry organisations. The program continued throughout the Paralympics as well, when renowned speaker and author Joni Eareckson Tada served as a chaplain*
The Rev. David Tyndall was the Taskforce’s Secretary, who donated the material to the Samuel Marsden Archives after the games. He served on the committee alongside former Wallaby Brian King, who at the time was also Bishop to the Australian Defence Force.
“It is marvellous expression of community and togetherness. Although some people regret the crowds and expense involved, it is an event that is sure to have positive results….Christians have a mission to express the love of God wherever people are in life,” he said. “I have an appreciation of all sport. The skills in nearly every sport can be translated into life in general – in terms of commitment, concentration, idealism. Sport is a marvellous vehicle for those attributes” Bishop King told the Anglican Communion News Service in September 2000^.
This collection covers the wide range of events and activities that the committee organised, as well as their connections with other organisations onvolved with the games, including the Sydney Churches Olympic Network Committee, the Church Army and the Bible Society.* http://www.joniandfriends.org/radio/5-minute/paralympic-story/ ^ http://www.anglicannews.org/news/2000/09/sporting-king-an-interview-with-the-former-wallaby-who-is-now-the-aussie-olympic-bishop.aspx