A great year for sport

INSPIRED by the world's most exciting rugby player, David Campese, the Australian Wallabies have spent the past 12 months cementing their status as world champions.

After their World Cup success the previous year, 1992 brought a gruelling schedule that saw them beat new and old rivals alike.

The all-conquering Wallabies handed out a hammering to South Africa, they captured the Southern Hemisphere's top trophy, the Bledisloe Cup, from arch-rivals New Zealand, and they then toured Ireland and Wales, winning their Tests against both host countries.

Australia's cricketers began 1993 as limited-overs world champions and were strongly fancied to retain their trophy when, together with New Zealand, they hosted the World Cup in February and March.

What followed was a huge disappointment to the country's cricket fans as the team, led by veteran skipper Allan Border, failed to even qualify for the semi-finals from the round-robin stage.

The year took a turn for the better for Border's men when they toured Sri Lanka in August, with the Australians snatching an astonishing victory in the first Test in Colombo.

The success put Border's team in good heart for their current series against the giants of modern cricket, the West Indies.

The series has been mixed with the Australians losing the one-day series to the Windies in the finals. The test series is still up for grabs with Australia one up in the five-match series, with two test still to play.

Australia's Olympic Games competitors captured 27 medals last summer in Barcelona, a total the country has bettered only once, when Melbourne hosted the Games in 1956.

The haul of seven golds, nine silver and 11 bronze ranked Australia 10th in the world at Barcelona.

In women's cycling Kathryn Watt captured the road race gold medal, while swimmer Kieren Perkins continued his country's great tradition in the sport when he took the gold medal in the 1,500 metres and wiped almost five seconds off his world record.

The country's rowers produced their best ever Olympic result, with coxless four of Mike McKay, Nick Green, Andrew Cooper and James Tonkins living up to their world champion status with gold, a finish matched by Peter Antonie and Stephen Hawkins in the men's double sculls.

Canoeist Clint Robinson paddled to glory in the single kayak over 1,000 metres.

Horseman Matt Ryan and his mount Kibah Tic Toc out-jumped and outlasted the rest of the field in the three-day equestrian event. Ryan then combined with Andrew Hoy and Gill Rolton to win the gold medal in the team section of the three-day event.

It is against this backdrop of sporting achievement that Australia's largest city, Sydney, is bidding to stage the 2000 Olympics.