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  • SYNTHETIC DNA - A SPACE ODYSSEY AS CATHERINE FREEMAN'S MOMENT PRESERVED BY SCIENCE


    09/28/20

    The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has congratulated the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) and the Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage (OFCH) for the use of ground-breaking technology to preserve Catherine Freeman’s 400 metre win from the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games for thousands of years.

    The use of synthetic DNA to preserve this imagery offers an extraordinary opportunity to capture and preserve Australia’s sporting history.

    The race was projected onto the sails of the Sydney Opera House tonight, marking 20 years since this iconic moment in Australian sport.

    AOC Chief Executive Officer Matt Carroll says sport and science have intersected in so many ways for decades, but the partnership between the NFSA and OFCH represents an opportunity all but lifted from the pages of science fiction.

    “It was wonderful to see Catherine’s race from 2000 on the sails of the Sydney Opera House – even more wonderful to know that this iconic vision will now be safely stored for ten thousand years or more using synthetic DNA.

    “It’s fitting that this race is the first Australian video to be encoded on DNA, given its extraordinary impact on Australians at the time and the great legacy of celebration and reconciliation that flowed from it.

    “Looking ahead, the prospect of efficient and sustainable storage of Olympic imagery through synthetic DNA is an exciting breakthrough. Our capacity to store data has not kept pace with the explosion of data produced. Now we have a storage solution lifted from science fiction, dare I say a space odyssey.

    Mr Carroll pointed to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games being held in 2021 as another opportunity for Australians to create a history that can be preserved using the new technology.

    “We are hoping to send the biggest Australia Olympic Team to leave our shores. We know these Tokyo Games will be different for obvious reasons, but they represent another exciting chapter in our rich Olympic history.

    “The AOC thanks the NFSA and OFCH for this important work,” Mr Carroll concluded.

    Footage and stills from projection on the Sydney Opera House are available for media use at http://bit.ly/NFSADNA

    Imagery is supplied on the understanding it will be used solely in conjunction with editorial around the NFSA/OFCH DNA preservation announcement. It is intended for one time use only and should not be held on file for future editorial purposes.

    Please credit: Courtesy National Film and Sound Archive of Australia/OFCH.

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