4 April, 2018, 12:00 am
FROM today to April 15, the Gold Coast will create its own slice of history when it hosts the 21st Commonwealth Games.
It will be the fifth time Australia has staged the Commonwealth Games following Sydney (1938), Perth (1962), Brisbane (1982) and Melbourne (2006) — making Australia the nation that has hosted the most number of Games.
Significantly, GC2018 will mark the first time a Commonwealth Games will be held in a regional Australian city.
The Commonwealth Games have been conducted by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) every four years (except for 1942 and 1946 due to World War II) since the first British Empire Games were held in Hamilton, Canada in 1930.
There have been many magical moments witnessed at the Commonwealth Games over the years, including the famous “Miracle Mile” at the 1954 Games when England’s Roger Bannister and Australian John Landy created history by both breaking the four-minute mile in a race.
A key player in the staging of the first Commonwealth Games was sports reporter and administrator Melville Marks (Bobby) Robinson, who helped bring to reality what Commonwealth nations had been dreaming about for three decades.
Since then, the Games have grown from an event featuring 11 countries and 400 athletes to a modern sporting spectacular that includes 71 nations and territories and over 6,600 athletes and team officials.
Important change has also been made in gender equity over the years, with GC2018 set to mark the first time in the history of a major multi-sport Games that there will be an equal number of medal events for men and women.
The size and format of the sporting competition has also grown over the years.
Up until the late 1990s, there had only ever been single competition sports before the introduction of hockey (men and women), netball (women) and rugby 7s (men) at the Kuala Lumpur Games in 1998.
It wasn’t until eight years later at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2006 that basketball was introduced.
GC2018 will see the first ever Beach Volleyball competition on the Gold Coast — a fitting inclusion for the globally renowned beachside destination.
But the Commonwealth Games are more than just about competition.
They aim to unite the Commonwealth family through sport.
The Games reflect the CGF’s core values of humanity, equality and destiny.
They bring together members of the Commonwealth of nations to compete on a level playing field in a spirit of friendship and fair play often referred to as the ‘friendly games’.
The Commonwealth is a collective of diverse nations spread across every continent and ocean and makes up to 30% of the world’s population. From Asia to Africa and beyond, the Commonwealth is composed of a rich variety of faiths, races, languages, cultures and traditions.
The Commonwealth Games is a unique, world-class, multi-sport event that is held once every four years and is often referred to as the ‘Friendly Games’. The Commonwealth Games brings together the members of the Commonwealth of Nations in an effort to raise the bar of sport for all humanity and provide a level playing field where athletes compete in a spirit of friendship and fair play.
There are a total of 53 members of the Commonwealth of Nations, including a number of British overseas territories, Crown dependencies and island states who compete under their own flag. England, Isle of Man, Guernsey, Gibraltar, Jersey, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all send separate teams to compete in the Games.
The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) is the organisation that is responsible for the direction and control of the Commonwealth Games. As a means of improving society and the general well-being of the people of the Commonwealth, the CGF also encourages and assists education via sport development and physical recreation.
Underlying every decision made by the CGF are three core values:
* Equality; and
These values help to inspire and unite millions of people and symbolise the broad mandate of the CGF within the Commonwealth.
The main element of the Commonwealth Games brand is “The Bar”.
A symbol that represents the Games’ effort to raise the bar of sports and level the playing field where athletes can come to complete in a spirit of friendship and fair play. It also acts as a collective aspiration for the whole of the Commonwealth and is something that will be present during the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.