Sydney 2000

Behind the Scenes at the Olympic Games

Behind the Scenes at the Olympic Games RAMSA:
Support at the Largest Scale Ever

Photo: Panoramic view of one of the football venues of the Olympic Games Sydney 2000 filled to capacity with spectators

The sixteen days of fierce competitions at the Olympic Games Sydney 2000 kicked off in front of Sydney’s symbol, the Opera House. For the Olympic Games Sydney 2000, 34 venues comprised the Olympic arena. The members of Team Panasonic in charge of the RAMSA sound system listened to the excited applause and cheering rumbling from the different venues. RAMSA had supported Olympic Games since Los Angeles 1984. But the level of support at the Olympic Games Sydney 2000 was to be at a larger scale than ever before, with a wealth of new ideas.

Careful Simulation for an Environmentally-Friendly Installation

Matsumi Takeuchi, who was responsible for the delivery of RAMSA, recounted as follows: “We suggested to have detailed sound simulations in all 34 venues ahead of the Games. At indoor stadiums, we took reverberation into consideration so that athletes and spectators could hear the same music without any lag in time. At outdoor venues, we strived for the homogeneity of sound while eliminating unnecessary background noise. The Olympic Games Sydney 2000, called the Green Olympic Games, had a special emphasis on the environment. In each venue we took care so as to not impair the landscape and nature, and worked out solutions to minimize sound leakage outside the stadium.”

Photo: Spectators watching a competition at the beach volleyball venue of the Olympic Games Sydney 2000

At last the Games began. Amid the sound of waves from Bondi Beach and with fine sand under their shoes, the spectators entered the seating area. They were stunned. Now inside the stands, they found themselves in an open-air disco. Large sounds reverberated through the temporary stands, deep bass buzzed through their bodies. Around the white-sand volleyball court was a completely unique space. The precise design of the highly directional speakers, capable of transmitting sound in any one direction, prevented sound leakage outside the stands. The local media’s reaction changed completely, with many quipping that the stadium was “perfect” and “the greatest in beach volleyball history.”

Photo: RAMSA speakers installed on a temporary stand at the beach volleyball venue of the Olympic Games Sydney 2000

Comfortable Sounds for All People

For the RAMSA staff, there is one unforgettable episode. On the final day of equipment adjustment, the staff tested each speaker one by one, running music through each. After they stopped the music, a woman with a little girl approached the staff. She asked, “Who turned off the music?” When the RAMSA team explained that they were just testing the equipment for the Olympic Games, the woman replied sadly, “What a pity! My little girl was really enjoying that music...” When the team heard the woman’s reply they realized that their preparation was going well. “Please look forward to the Olympic Games,” they called to the mother and daughter. The staff turned on the RAMSA system once again to play the music just a while longer and, this time admiring the people enjoying the music, they left the venue for the day.

Photo: RAMSA speakers installed on the beach at the beach volleyball venue of the Olympic Games Sydney 2000