Brett Aitken and Scott McGrory won the inaugural staging of the madison event at Sydney 2000. It was arguably the most remarkable performance against adversity of the Games and gave Australia its first track cycling gold medal since the team pursuit at Los Angeles 1984.
Aitken had abandoned his quest for gold in early 2000 when his one-year-old daughter was diagnosed with a developmental disorder. But his wife, McGrory, friends and others convinced him to continue. Ashli Aitken survived to be part of the celebrations however in another cruel twist McGrory’s infant son died 10 weeks before the Games. How they both helped each other through is quite unbelievable.
The Sydney Olympic Games were Aitken’s third. He won a silver medal, behind Germany, in the team pursuit at Barcelona 1992, with Stephen McGlede, Shaun O’Brien and Stuart O’Grady. At Atlanta 1996, Aitken with O’Grady, Bradley McGee and Dean Woods finished third in the team pursuit behind France and Russia. He finished fifth in the team pursuit in Sydney.
The silver medal from the madison in 2000 went to Belgium, represented by Étienne De Wilde and Matthew Gilmore. Gilmore, a promising junior cyclist in Australia, had become a highly ranked endurance rider in Europe and had considerable success in six-day events, at times with McGrory as his partner.