One of the greatest honours for any ancient Greek athlete was to win the Olympic crown - a wreath of olive leaves taken from a sacred tree near the Temple of Zeus. This was presented in a ceremony either after the victory itself or at the end of the sporting festival. Similar tributes, such as the presentation of woollen ribbons and palm leaves, also honoured Olympic victories.
Reflecting these ancient customs, the presentation ceremony at the modern Olympic Games pays tribute to teams and athletes that finish in first, second and third positions. Traditionally, these athletes mount a three-tiered dais to receive a medal and floral tribute.
The Ceremonies Division for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games orchestrated the opening and closing ceremonies as well as the medal presentation ceremonies for athletes. Led by Ric Birch, the Division selected a medal design and native bouquet, chose outfits for medal bearers and flower bearers, and designed the victory dais for Olympic arenas. Surprisingly, the Division operated independently from the Image Department that designed the 'kit pack' (flags, banners, signage and other decorative elements) for sports venues. This separation created a visual disparity between the gold, silver and bronze victory dais and the bold colours and vibrant patterns of the venue decorations.
The event and theatre designer, Brian Thomson, developed the victory dais while working with the Ceremonies Division. His plans comprised three cylindrical podiums that interconnected to form a tiered platform. Referencing the medals themselves, the central podium was painted gold, and the two outer podiums were painted silver and bronze. Moulded in fibreglass, their facades represented the five Olympic rings and the words, 'Sydney 2000'. Each podium was 1.9 metres in diameter, with the gold podium standing at 555 millimetres, and the silver and bronze podiums standing at 325 millimetres.
This is one of the gold podiums that served in the medal presentation ceremonies at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. Made from fiberglass, its sides adjoin to the silver and bronze podiums, and its upper surface is textured to provide additional grip for athletes. Standing at 555 millimeters, the gold podium is slightly taller than the silver and bronze versions, and is equipped with an extendable step at the rear. Along with the silver and bronze podiums, it represents one of the icons of the modern Olympic Games.