Posted By John
1966 Commonwealth Games

(British Empire and Commonwealth Games)

Opening Ceremony … 4 Aug 1966 Host City … Kingston, Jamaica Closing Ceremony … 13 Aug 1966
Participants … 1,316 athletes, 24 Commonwealth Nations
ON JULY 26, 1966 Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace handed the baton to the six mile champion (1960 Perth Games) Bruce Kidd to begin its long journey to Kingston, Jamaica. At the Opening Ceremony at Independence Park, carried in turn by Jamaican Gold Medallists and local boys and girls, it was presented to Prince Philip. It was put on permanent display at the Institute of Jamaica the next day as a memento of the Games.

The Aussies were almost unbeatable winning an impressive ten out of thirteen swimming events. Fifteen world records were set at the Games in the outdoor Stadium Pool. It was the first time Keifer Non-Turbulence Floats were used. These are the floats that mark the lanes. This new technology prevented waves from splashing over from one lane to another.

The 1966 Games logo is made of two blue and white emblems. On the left is the British Empire and the Commonwealth Games Federation’s emblem. On the right is the Jamaican Coat of Arms. The logo background is blue.

Problems at the Games

The Games were plagued by a variety of problems. Because of extreme traffic gridlock around Independence Park, many athletes were late or weren’t able to arrive for the Opening Ceremony at all.

John Coker (Sierra Leone) was scratched from competing in the boxing competition because there were no gloves in Jamaica to fit him. He had extraordinarily long thumbs and there wasn’t enough time to make new ones to fit him.

Even routine activities had unexpected problems. Wendel Mottley (Trinidad) took Gold in the Men’s 440 yards, but refused to take the winner’s podium. It seems a broken rope prevented the Trinidad and Tobago flag from being raised. The presentation had to be delayed until the following day.

In cycling’s 120-mile road race, athletes faced a variety of hazards. There were roads full of pot holes and obstacles such as chickens, goats, pigs and dogs to be avoided. Heavy downpour in the mountains brought down leaves and twigs over the roads causing eleven riders to skid out of control. Only seventeen from a field of forty-three finished the race.

Low Debt for Jamaica Hosting the Commonwealth Games

Although the Games had more than its share of problems, it should be noted that the population of Jamaica in 1966 was only 1.5 million people. Compared to the larger and wealthier nations, Jamaica did a fine job without putting its people in debt. The Games cost Jamaica £406,469 to run, but only had a deficit of £1730 … an impressive accomplishment.

A 10 year old Jamaican diver, Betsy Sullivan, was the youngest athlete. The oldest was Charles Sexton (England) at 59 who won Gold in the .22 free pistol event. And the decathlon appeared for the first time as an event at the Games. For the 1966 Games, there were 110 events in 10 sports.

The Opening and Closing Ceremonies as well as track and field, cycling and other events were held at the National Stadium. It was built four years earlier to commemorate Jamaica’s independence and was officially opened by Princess Margaret.

Name Changes
During the time between the 1960 and the 1966 Games, several countries changed their names.

 Old Name  New Name  Old Name  New Name
 Aden  South Arabia  Northern Rhodesia  Zambia
 British Guiana  Guyana  Southern Rhodesia  Malaysia
 Nyasaland  Malawi  Tanganyika  Tanzania

Top 22 Countries By Total Medals

Dual bronzes were awarded in 10 divisions of boxing. Host country listed in bold, Australia in green.

Country Total
13 Wales 3 2 2 7
14 Northern Ireland 1 3 3 7
15 Malaysia 2 2 1 5
16 Uganda 0 0 3 3
17 Isle of Man 1 0 0 1
18 Bahamas 0 1 0 1
19 Bermuda 0 1 0 1
20 Guyana 0 1 0 1
21 Papua New Guinea 0 1 0 1
22 Barbados 0 0 1 1
Country Total
1 England 33 24 23 80
2 Australia 23 28 22 73
3 Canada 14 20 23 57
4 New Zealand 8 5 13 26
5 Jamaica 0 4 8 12
6 India 3 4 3 10
7 Nigeria 3 4 3 10
8 Ghana 5 2 2 9
9 Trinidad & Tobago 5 2 2 9
10 Pakistan 4 1 4 9
11 Scotland 1 4 4 9
12 Kenya 4 1 3 8

Participating Teams

Countries attending the games were: Antigua, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, British Honduras, Canada Ceylon, England, Fiji, Ghana, Gibraltar, Guyana, India, Isle of Man, Jamaica, Jersey, Kenya, Malaysia, Mauritius, New Zealand Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Pakistan, Papua & New Guinea, Scotland, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Arabia, St Vincent, Tanzania, Trinidad & Tobago, Uganda, Wales