Sporting events have plotted history, inspiring the likes of all communities to come together in the name of friendly competition. The Commonwealth Games have been a staple of a competitive celebration of the world’s finest athletes for 88 years.
Now, the Games have landed on our home turf once again. The Gold Coast is hosting the Commonwealth Games beginning on the 4th April 2018. The Games will be a celebration of hundreds of sports and a great chance to display Australian sporting pride (something we are keen to do after dropping the literal ball at recent events *cough cough*).
Before we become glued to our TVs and dive into the celebration of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, let’s explore the history of one of the World’s most famous sporting events.
the history of the commonwealth games
The Commonwealth Games began in 1930 and was first held in Hamilton, Canada. The first event hosted 11 countries and sent 400 athletes to compete in six sports and 59 events. The sporting event now hosts 71 nations and territories sending 6,660 athletes and officials.
how did the commonwealth games begin?
The Commonwealth Games began as a concept to help unify the Commonwealth through friendly sport. The revitalised Olympic Games inspired the idea of a Commonwealth Games (then known as the British Empire Games) to unite the Commonwealth nations.
In the first Commonwealth Games, teams from England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Bermuda and South Africa were among the countries to participate. To support the Games, the host town, Hamilton in Canada, provided $30,000 to cover costs.
The Commonwealth Games have been held every four years since 1930 (except for 1942 and 1946 during World War II).
who participates in the commonwealth games?
All the countries under the banner of the Commonwealth are invited to participate in the Commonwealth Games. This includes countries where the Queen is sovereign (like Australia) and where the countries are independent (like Canada). The total population of the Commonwealth is 2.1 billion, with 71 Nations and Territories competing in the Games.
The Commonwealth Games bring together members of the Commonwealth to compete on a level playing field that’s built on trust and respect for sports. The games give us all something to root for, whether it be a nation, an athlete or a sport; we can all come together and celebrate achievements of all nations.
The official list of all participating nations in the Commonwealth Games can be found here.
how many times has the commonwealth games been hosted in Australia?
Australia has hosted the Games five times throughout its history: in Sydney (1938), Perth (1962), Brisbane (1982), Melbourne (2006) and now the Gold Coast. Australia has hosted the most Commonwealth Games events out of the other competing Nations. We also hold the prize for the most amount of medals, including the most gold and silver medals at the Commonwealth Games. Go us!
where have the commonwealth games been held?
The strength of the Commonwealth Games comes from all the diverse locations that have hosted the event. Most of the larger countries, such as Scotland, India and Canada, have had their turn in the hosting spotlight. However, there are some countries that participate in the Games that you may have never heard of. Here are some tiny countries that compete in the Commonwealth Games:
- Grenada : The country is the most southerly of the Windwards Islands in the Eastern Caribbean. The country won a silver medal in the Melbourne Games, followed by a gold and a bronze at Glasgow.
- Ghana : The Republic of Ghana (formerly known as the Gold Coast) is located in West Africa and lies on the Gulf of Guinea. Ghana won 5 gold medals at the Jamaica 1966 Commonwealth Games.
- Samoa : Samoa is made of nine islands and is located at the centre of the Southwest Pacific Island group. The name Samoa means ‘Scared Centre of the Universe’. Samoa has not hosted the Commonwealth Games, however, did host the Commonwealth Youth Games in 2015.
- Trinidad and Tobago : Trinidad and Tobago are two islands located in the West Indian Island states and are situated 11.2 km off the Venezuelan coast.
most popular events at the commonwealth games
There are 23 sports at the Commonwealth Games, each containing a myriad of different team and individual events. Anything is possible when it comes to competition, so have a look at the complete list of sports hosted at the Commonwealth Games.
The most popular sporting spectacles at the Commonwealth Games seem to be swimming and athletics. However, the games are also a platform to watch sports that are not usually on free-to-air television, such as shooting, squash and weightlifting. So, expand your sporting horizons this Commonwealth Games and watch and cheer for sports you haven’t watched before.
the benefits of hosting the commonwealth games
Hosting the Commonwealth Games can be disruptive for those who inhabit the city, however, it does bring great benefits. Hosting the Commonwealth Games is set to benefit the local area both economically and socially. Here is a list of benefits that the Australian Government is intending to gain from hosting the games:
- Improved skills and opportunities for business
- Building the Gold Coast’s image as a world-class boutique city
- Inspires a drive for customer service excellence
- Integrates the opportunity for permanent infrastructure improvements, such as the Gold Coast Light Rail Stage Two.
- Community hype and celebration
- Platform to unite the Commonwealth Nations and also the local community
- The talent of local artists from a diverse range of communities are on display
- Enhance the reputation of the local community
- Increased engagement in the local community
- Infrastructure development for the host city
- Improvements to key venues
- Places the opportunity for the education sector and knowledge economy to become a major industry on the Gold Coast
- Drive growth in local creative industries
- Planning for the Games has already created thousands of jobs and business in Queensland
Clearly, the Commonwealth Games provide a sense of pride and also boost morale and community. It’s a fun and friendly display of athletes talents and the attractions of Queensland.
free events at the commonwealth games
As part of the celebrations, the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games are hosting several components that are free to enjoy. There are free sporting events to witness as well as a packed festival lineup. Of course, attendees at the Commonwealth Games will also be able to enjoy the other attractions on the Gold Coast that bring in millions of tourists each year.
the festival 2018
The Commonwealth Games will host festivities across Queensland, with the heart of the celebration at the Gold Coast. All these events are free to the public. The vision behind Festival 2018 is based on three acts, “ Encounters in which we meet the world, Change in which we affect positive change in the world and Aspire in which we uplift and transform ourselves and those around us.” (Sourced from the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games)
This vision is embedded into the feel of the games, the organisers say. Endeavouring to connect the global community with Queensland’s culture.
At the Gold Coast, the Games will be presenting 160 events across the 12 days of the festival. The festivities will be held across the Gold Coast and aim to present the wider community with an understanding of Queensland’s diverse culture.
Festival 2018 welcomes a diverse range of musical performers that endeavour to showcase a diverse range of musical talents. The Festival 2018 spans across the line of the coast, with two major locations in Broadbeach and Surfers Paradise. To help keep you in the know with exactly what’s up, here’s a description of each location of the Festival 2018:
- Surfers Paradise Beach
If you’re in Surfers Parade from 1 pm onwards there will be plenty happening at the main stage. In the party centre of the Gold Coast, there will be plenty to experience for all ages throughout the day. Every night, the Main Stage will exhibit performers from 17 different countries, including Fresh Voices of the Commonwealth, Bleach Electrified and Electric Lady.
- Kurrawa Park, Broadbeach
There is much to offer at Kurrawa Park with an inflatable maze, family shows and performers from Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islands and First Nations communities.
- Surf Parade, Broadbeach
If adrenaline is your game than Surf Parade is where you’ll want to be over the course of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. The location is playing host to two massive stages with the best musicians, acrobats and dancers. For extra adrenaline pump, head to the open air 360-degree Roundabout Stage, with an array of global dancers, urban circus performers and physical theatre.
- Across the Coast
Apart from the above central locations, Festival 2018 is popping up all over the coast. So keep a look for surprising and entertaining (and free) events for the whole family to enjoy.
free sporting events
There’s no doubt that Commonwealth Game tickets, plus accommodation and all the extras could take a toll on your bank account. Don’t let that stop you and your family enjoying the spectacle of the Games. Consider a holiday loanto help boost your Commonwealth Games fund.
- Cycling – Mountain Bike: For free, you can view the race from various vantage points along the track. The Mountain Bike race will be held at the Nerang National Park, Nerang. The event will be held on the 12th April starting at 10:30 am.
- Cycling – Road: For the road cycling there will be plenty of action to enjoy from the Public Viewing Areas. View world-class athletes battle it out on the road. The race takes place on the Currumbin Beachfront. The event is held on the 10th of April starting from 10 am.
- Marathon: The marathon is an impressive display of strength and endurance. The Gold Coast Commonwealth Games marathon includes four races; the men’s marathon, women’s marathon, men’s T54 (para) marathon and women’s T54 (para) marathon. The races will begin at Runaway Bay and end at Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast. There are many spectacular spots to view the races along the picturesque coastline.
- Triathlon: Want to see a mix of sports and talent all in one race? Well, the triathlon is perfect to visit a variety of talent all in one place. The individual Triathlon takes place on the 5th of April, flowered by the Para-triathlon and Mixed Team Relay on the 7th of April.
No need to worry about a packed lunch for you and the kids. The Games have provided The Hub which will offer a wide range of food and drinks at each event.
To keep to date with all the essential Gold Coast Commonwealth Games info, download their free app here.
attractions on the gold coast
- The beaches! Including Burleigh Heads, Surfers Paradise, Main Beach and Broadbeach. Also, relax on Burleigh Hill, overlooking the beautiful coastline, for a picturesque picnic with the family
- Have a shop at the Harbour Town Outlet or Pacific Fair; two of the largest shopping centres on the Gold Coast with hundreds of retailers.
To escape the hype of the Commonwealth Games, get amongst nature at Mt Tamborine. There are plenty of activities to keep the whole family entertained, such as Tamborine Mountain Glow Worm Caves, and the Rainforest Skywalk.
how to plan for the commonwealth games
The Commonwealth Games will attract a fair amount of extra traffic to the Gold Coast area, however, there are plenty of ways to minimise your travel times. Here are some top tips for travelling around the Gold Coast during the Commonwealth Games:
- Plan ahead
- Stay nearby
- Use free public transport instead of parking at the venue
- Consider walking or cycling for quicker journeys
- Allow more time for travel
ready, set, go the games!
Whether you’re planning on enjoying all the sporting festivities live down at the Gold Coast or watching your favourite sports from the comfort of your home; remember to enjoy the fun and Games!
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