Wednesday 4th April – Today, as I put pen to paper the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony from the Gold Coast, Australia, is playing out on the TV.
As I start this paragraph six people (three men and three women) dressed in all white suits, not dissimilar in look to Hopkin in the 1970’s TV series Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased), are raising a flag to be flown for the duration of the Games.
I’m assuming it’s the Commonwealth Games flag, not one displaying the emblem of Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) Land – A little known island in the south Pacific whose inhabitants solve crimes with the help of dead people, whose anonymity is maintained as no other living person can see them. A sort of Fantasy Island without fellow white suit wearers, overseer Mr Roarke and his diminutive sidekick Tattoo.
Like the Olympics, the sporting celebration in which 71 Commonwealth countries and territories participate, takes place every four years, generally in the same year as the football World Cup. Thankfully for us English, the athletics team are a darn sight more accomplished at winning medals than Gareth Southgate’s footballing charges.
Made up predominantly of former territories of the British Empire, it’s inaugural event was in 1930. Known then as the British Empire Games, it was renamed to it’s current moniker in 1950, following the Commonwealth of Nations constitution in 1949.
This the consequence of a high level meeting in 1950’s London where an attendee piped up “I know, following the Commonwealth of Nations constitution in 1949, lets rename the British Empire Games the Commonwealth Games.”
As the meeting was the Kent Cheese Makers Annual General Meeting (AGM), the epiphany was initially ignored. A few months later, though, the suggestion became adopted after the same person relayed it to the Commonwealth Games committee…….. Thought by many to be a far better option than suggesting it to dairy producers, an organisation with no jurisdiction over world athletic events.
Word from down under is this major sporting occasion has the whole of Australia buzzing. Apart from George Shoehorn from Perth who deems it enforced empirical dogma to outposts who’d rather be republics.
Whether this becomes adopted as an Australian mantra depends on whether enough of his fellow countrymen can comprehend what the words dogma, empirical and republic mean. Watch this space…. Or maybe not!
According to my DIY store owner mate Frank, Queensland is awash with belief that the host nation will prevail, overturning the close finish at the last Games in Glasgow (2014).
An occasion where England narrowly pipped their antipodean cousins at the top of the medal tables. He knows little about Australia, or indeed sporting events, however he’s been asked to provide the materials for the Commonwealth Cricket Ball Sanding event. A new challenge hurriedly introduced within the last fortnight, which the hosts hope will fire them to the top of the medal table.
My introduction to the Commonwealth Games was the 1970 Edinburgh Games. As a 7 year old, I don’t have a great many memories about the whole tournament, although I vividly remember this 5000m men’s final. An occasion two Scottish Ian’s fought like gladiators against the legendary Kenyan athlete Kip Keino.
The race finish is described below by the legendary tones of David Coleman:-………