Torch relay escort runner t-shirt, Sydney 2000 Paralympic Torch Relay, cotton, designed and made by Bonds, made in Australia c.2000
The Sydney 2000 Paralympic Torch Relay, like its Olympic counterpart, aimed to engender peace, friendship and tolerance, and at the same time heighten public enthusiasm for the coming Games. Its extensive relay route (the longest route in Paralympic history) helped to achieve these intentions.
In September 1999, the Federal Government committed $500 000 to the Paralympic Torch Relay and effectively extended it from a State to national event. Along with major funding from the Motor Accidents Authority of New South Wales, and lesser contributions from councils and corporations, the Paralympic Torch Relay visited all States and capital cities, and toured regional centres in New South Wales and the greater Sydney region.
From 5 to 18 October, the relay traversed 11 500 kilometres (mostly by air), involved 920 torchbearers, and reached a potential audience of 11.5 million Australians. In New South Wales, home to the 2000 Paralympics, a 750-kilometre road journey carried the flame through 200 cities, suburbs and towns.
In early 1999, the Sydney Paralympic Organising Committee, in conjunction with SOCOG, commissioned Bonds to design and manufacture the Paralympic torch relay uniforms. Bonds developed two distinct uniforms - one for Paralympic torchbearers and the other for escort runners - that comprised cotton t-shorts, drawstring shorts, sports socks and the runners' own sneakers. Aside from their colouring and graphic design, these uniforms were identical to those that were worn in the Olympic torch relay.
Inspiration for the Paralympic torchbearer uniform came directly from the Paralympic Games logo - a configuration of three Korean symbols, 'Tae-Gueks', in green, red and blue. This logo signified harmony between the mind, body and spirit, and first appeared at the 1988 Seoul Games. Continuing this theme, the torch relay logo and other graphic details were applied in red, blue and black dyes.
This unused example of the Sydney 2000 Paralympic torchbearer uniform was designed and made by Bonds in Australia in 1999. The design fulfilled functional and aesthetic requirements - its bright colours and reflective dyes referred to the distinctive logo of the Paralympic Games, and also ensured that the torchbearer would be visible amongst spectators and media. Moreover, he lightweight fabric and casual style ideally suited the athletic nature of the torch relay.