Let The Games Begin
It’s pretty remarkable how stumbling across an item from your childhood can transport you back to that moment, resurrecting old feelings and memories that you had long forgotten about.
I was cleaning out some boxes under my house, that I hadn’t opened since moving out of my parents’ home about 10 years ago; when I found a smooth rock about the size of my palm and a rolled up strip of bright blue plastic with Sydney 2000 emblazoned on it.
I laughed as I reminisced about my dad and I pocketing a rock from the rowing canal at the end of the last race; and the spectators at the marathon, myself included, tearing off a piece of the branded blue banner tape lining the streets.
I remember attending the swimming events, athletics and tennis, and watching the opening and closing ceremonies on television (who can forget Nikki Webster flying across the stadium?!)
There is an insurmountable camaraderie at international sporting events, everyone brandishing their team’s colours, singing national anthems at the top of their lungs and of course the great Mexican wave.
This month, the Gold Coast hosts the XXI Commonwealth Games, where 6600 athletes and team officials represent 70 nations and territories within the Commonwealth.
History will also be made, with an equal number of men’s and women’s medal events contested at a Commonwealth Games – at a time when women’s rights are at the forefront, this is a hop, step and a jump forward in equality.
GC2018 will also feature the largest integrated sports program in Games history, with 18 sports and seven para-sports, including women’s rugby sevens, beach volleyball and para triathlon making their debuts.
With these positive changes happening on such a large scale, the Games provide an optimistic influence for the men, women and children watching on; I just hope the athletes feel the same responsibility, afterall, they are the role models for our leaders of tomorrow.
History of the Commonwealth Games
• The first Commonwealth Games was held in 1930 in Hamilton, Canada, with 11 countries, 400 athletes, six sports and 59 events.
• Bobby Robinson, a major influence within athletics in Canada at the time, implemented the event that had been talked about among Commonwealth nations for over 30 years.
• Since then, the Games have been conducted every four years (except for 1942 and 1946 due to World War II).
• From 1930 to 1950, the Games were known as the British Empire Games; from 1954 to 1966 they were the British Empire and Commonwealth Games; from 1970 to 1974 they were the British Commonwealth Games; and in 1978, changed to the Commonwealth Games.