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Have The Commonwealth Games Become Irrelevant?
Before we start I have a question for you: Where and when are the Commonwealth Games held this year?
If you were able to answer Glasgow, Scotland and the dates of 23 July – 3 August, then you are certainly in the minority as most people I have spoken to haven’t got a clue. Thus I have raised this question.
I remember growing up as in the 80s and 90s that the Commonwealth Games was the opportunity for us as a nation to demolish every other Commonwealth sporting nation in any sport we tried our hand at. As a sporting nation we will never forget the memories of Robert De Castella winning the marathon at the 1982 Brisbane Games in exhausting conditions, Robbie Perella putting lawn bowls on the map at the 1990 Auckland Games, or the thrilling Australia vs. New Zealand Netball final from the 2002 Manchester Games. Our swimming team was the pinnacle of our Commonwealth Games domination as it was often referred by the public and media by “will we win” but more like “what won’t we win”. Performances by the likes of Susie O’Neill, Samantha Reilly, Kiran Perkins and Grant Hackett in the poll dominated the games, the headlines and milk commercials for years to come. Finally, if you were not cheering home Kerryn McCann over the last 10km of possibly the greatest ever marathon race ever at the 2006 Melbourne Games
Even before my time the feats by Australians at the Empire and them Commonwealth Games are almost folklore. Bannister vs Landy at the 1954 Vancouver Games, Dawn Fraser winning six golds during her reign of the pool, and the feats of Shirley Strickland and Betty Cuthbert tearing up the track in the sprinting events were stories told by my father’s father, and my father to me. Stories and tales or other performance that a nation during times war, heartache and despair.
Yet in just over a month a fresh crop of Australia’s finest will be taking on the Commonwealth’s best in 17 sports over 10 days of competition but from what you see in the newspapers, television and social media, you wouldn’t even know that they were on. Besides the odd article on the uniform the athletes will be wearing to the Games (another gold medal fashion disaster) there has been no build-up whatsoever to these Games. With the FIFA World Cup in Brazil taking all of the headlines over the last two weeks and another two to come I can’t see how the nation is going to get excited for the competition ahead. There will be some interest once they begin but it will never reach the heights like it did 10, 20 or even 50 years ago.
The Olympics little cousin is the stepping stone for many athletes to taste their first international multi-sport event and for the athletes and families involved it may be the biggest moment in their lives. But for the rest of us does the Commonwealth Games still hold a special part in our sporting calendar or is it a shadow of its former self? Not as much as it used to.
So I pose the question again: Have The Commonwealth Games Become Irrelevant? Vote now by clicking ‘Yes’ or No’