A record 10,651 athletes (4,069 of them women) from 199 nations participate; the only nation excluded is Afghanistan. North and South Korea enter the stadium under one flag. Australian Aboriginal Cathy Freeman lights the cauldron at the start of the game, and goes on to win the 400m race.
British rower Steven Redgrave becomes the first athlete to win gold medals in five consecutive Olympics.
The U.S. softball team defends its title; Michael Johnson does the same in the 400m race.
17-year-old Ian Thorpe of Australia wins four medals (three gold) in swimming, breaking his own world record in the 400m freestyle.
Russian gymnast Alexei Nemov takes home six medals, as he had done in Atlanta in 1996.
Eric "the Eel" Moussambani of Equatorial Guinea is this year's lovable loser, taking 112.72 seconds in the 100m freestyle swim. This is more than twice as long as Pieter van den Hoogenband's gold-winning performance.
There are 165 events for men, 135 for women, and 12 mixed events. Women are excluded from boxing and baseball; men are excluded from synchronized swimming, rhythmic gymnastics, and softball.
The United States, the Russian Federation, and the People's Republic of China lead the medal-winners.
Note: All references to Marion Jones have been removed from this page. This follows the decision made by the International Olympic Committee in 2008 to erase her record and strip her of her medals.