The Commonwealth Games are held every four years with competitors coming from the nations of the British Commonwealth. Australian competed in all 16 Games and played host four times: Sydney 1938, Perth 1962, Brisbane 1982 and Melbourne 2006. Delhi, India will play host to the Games in 2010.
Australia – Medals Champion of the Games
In the 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002 and the 2006 Games, Australia had the most gold medals and the most medals overall. If you add up all the medals won since the 1930 Game, Australia has won a total of 1894 medals. England comes in second with 1692 and with 1314 medals Canada is third.
Over the years the Australian teams have grown. While there were only 11 Australian athletes competing in 1930, the total number from all countries that year was only 400.
By 2002 a record 515 athletes represented Australia at the Games and the total number of athletes from all countries had grown to approximately 3690.
This growth is reflected in the number of medals won. In the 1930 Games held in Canada, competing for the first time, our Australian Team won 8 medals. In the 2006 Games our medal count had risen to a total of 221, the highest in that competition. England came in second with 110 medals for 2006.
The 53 Commonwealth member countries are divided into 71 nations for competition at the Games. Each Commonwealth Games must consist of a minimum of 10 sports and a maximum of 15 sports.
The currently required sports are:
Athletics Lawn bowls Netball (women) Race Swimming Rugby 7s (men)
The country hosting the Games completes it’s sports program requirements by selecting from an approved list of sports:
* Elite Athletes with a Disability
The host country may also select one or more additional Team Sports.
Leading Flagbearer – 1930 through 1950
A single flagbearer carrying the Union Jack led the parade of nations. The use of that flag was to symbolise Britain’s leading role in the British Empire.
Baton – since 1958
A baton is carried from Buckingham Place in England to the Opening Ceremony by a relay of athletes. Within the baton is the Queen’s Message of Greeting to the athletes. The host nation often choses one of their most famous sporting personality as the baton’s final bearer.
The first nation marching in the Parade of Athletes is the host nation of the previous Games. The last nation to march in is the host nation of the current Games. All other nations march in English alphabetical order. In a break with tradition, in 2006 the nations marched in alphabetical order in geographical regions.
At the stadium there are three national flags flown: previous host nation, current host nation, next host nation.
Brief History of the Commonwealth Games
Reverend J Astley Cooper is credited for the concept of a sporting contest amongst the nations of the British Commonwealth. In a 1891 magazine article, he suggested that a festival combining sporting, military and literary events would bring the British people throughout the world closer together.
Although a sporting contest was held in London in 1911, it wasn’t until 1930 that the first Empire Games were held in Canada. Support at the games was very strong and a British Empire Games Federation was formed with the decision to hold the games every four years between the Olympic Games. The games have been renamed several times, finally becoming the Commonwealth Games in 1974.