The Commonwealth Games are an international multi-sport event involving athletes from the Commonwealth of Nations. The event was first held in 1930, and has taken place every four years since then. The Commonwealth Games were known as the British Empire Games from 1930 to 1950, the British Empire and Commonwealth Games from 1954 to 1966, and British Commonwealth Games from 1970 to 1974. It is the world's first multi-sport event which inducted equal number of women’s and men’s medal events and was implemented recently in the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Their creation was inspired by the Inter-Empire Championships, as a part of the Festival of Empire, which were held in London, United Kingdom in 1911. Melville Marks Robinson founded the games as the British Empire Games which were first hosted in Hamilton in 1930. During the 20th and 21st centuries, the evolution of the games movement has resulted in several changes to the Commonwealth Games. Some of these adjustments include the creation of the Commonwealth Winter Games for snow and ice sports for the commonwealth athletes, the Commonwealth Paraplegic Games for commonwealth athletes with a disability and the Commonwealth Youth Games for commonwealth athletes aged 14 to 18. The first edition of the winter games and paraplegic games were held in 1958 and 1962 respectively, with their last edition held in 1966 and 1974 respectively and the first youth games were held in 2000. The 1942 and 1946 Commonwealth Games were cancelled because of the Second World War.
The Commonwealth Games are overseen by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), which also controls the sporting programme and selects the host cities. The games movement consists of international sports federations (IFs), (CGAs), and organising committees for each specific Commonwealth Games. There are several rituals and symbols, such as the Commonwealth Games flag and Queen's Baton, as well as the opening and closing ceremonies. Over 5,000 athletes compete at the Commonwealth Games in more than 15 different sports and more than 250 events. The first, second, and third-place finishers in each event receive Commonwealth Games medals: gold, silver, and bronze, respectively. Apart from many Olympic sports, the games also include some sports which are played predominantly in Commonwealth countries but which are not part of the Olympic programme, such as lawn bowls, netball and squash.
The Commonwealth of Nations
, normally referred to as the Commonwealth
and formerly known as the British Commonwealth
, is an intergovernmental organisation
independent member states
. All but two (Mozambique
) of these countries were formerly part of the British Empire
, out of which it developed.
The member states cooperate within a framework of common values and goals as outlined in the Singapore Declaration. These include the promotion of democracy, human rights, good governance, the rule of law, individual liberty, egalitarianism, free trade, multilateralism, and world peace. The Commonwealth is not a political union, but an intergovernmental organisation through which countries with diverse social, political, and economic backgrounds are regarded as equal in status.
Its activities are carried out through the permanent Commonwealth Secretariat, headed by the Secretary-General, and biennial meetings between Commonwealth Heads of Government. The symbol of their free association is the Head of the Commonwealth, which is a ceremonial position currently held by Queen Elizabeth II. Elizabeth II is also monarch, separately and independently, of sixteen Commonwealth members, which are known as the "Commonwealth realms".
The Commonwealth is a forum for a number of non-governmental organisations, collectively known as the Commonwealth Family, which are fostered through the intergovernmental Commonwealth Foundation. The Commonwealth Games, the Commonwealth's most visible activity, are a product of one of these organisations. These organisations strengthen the shared culture of the Commonwealth, which extends through common sports, literary heritage, and political and legal practices. Due to this, Commonwealth countries are not considered to be "foreign" to one another. Reflecting this, diplomatic missions between Commonwealth countries are designated as High Commissions rather than embassies.
Ian James Thorpe OAM
(born 13 October 1982), nicknamed the Thorpedo
, is an Australian swimmer who specialises in freestyle
, but also competes in backstroke and the individual medley. He has won five Olympic gold medals, the most won by any Australian, and with three gold and two silver medals, was the most successful athlete at the 2000 Summer Olympics. At the 2001 World Aquatics Championships
, he became the first person to win six gold medals in one World Championship. In total, Thorpe has won eleven World Championship golds, the second-highest number of any swimmer. Thorpe was the first person to have been named Swimming World Swimmer of the Year
four times, and was the Australian swimmer of the year from 1999 to 2003. His athletic achievements made him one of Australia's most popular athletes, and he was recognised as the Young Australian of the Year
At the age of 14, he became the youngest male ever to represent Australia, and his victory in the 400 metre freestyle at the 1998 Perth World Championships made him the youngest ever individual male World Champion. After that victory, Thorpe dominated the 400 m freestyle, winning the event at every Olympic, World, Commonwealth and Pan Pacific Swimming Championships until his break after the 2004 Olympics. Aside from 13 individual long-course world records, Thorpe anchored the Australian relay teams, numbering the victories in the 4 × 100 m and the 4 × 200 m freestyle relays in Sydney, among his five relay world records. His wins in the 200 m and 400 m and his bronze in the 100 m freestyle in Athens have made him the only male to have won medals in the 100–200–400 combination.
After the Athens Olympics, Thorpe took a year away from swimming, scheduling a return for the 2006 Commonwealth Games. However, he was forced to withdraw due to illness. Subsequent training camps were interrupted, and he announced his retirement in November 2006, citing waning motivation.
From early 2011, there was much speculation about Thorpe's return to swimming, fueled by people claiming to have seen him training. These speculations were finally substantiated when Thorpe called a press conference on February 2, 2011, where he spoke of his return to swimming for the London Olympic Games, after four years away from the pool.
The 2010 Commonwealth Games
, officially known as the XIX Commonwealth Games
, were held in Delhi
, from 3 to 14 October 2010. A total of 6,081 athletes from 71 Commonwealth nations and dependencies
competed in 21 sports and 272 events. It was the largest international multi-sport event
to be staged in Delhi and India, eclipsing the Asian Games
. The opening
and closing ceremonies were held at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium
, the main stadium of the event. It was the first time that the Commonwealth Games were held in India and the second time it was held in Asia after Kuala Lumpur
. The official mascot of the Games was Shera
and the official song of the Games, "Jiyo Utho Bado Jeeto
", was composed by celebrated Indian musician A.R. Rahman
Initially, several concerns and controversies surfaced before the start of the Games. Despite these concerns, all member nations of the Commonwealth of Nations participated in the event, except Fiji, which is suspended from the Commonwealth, and Tokelau, which didn't send a team. A widely-praised opening ceremony helped improve the image of the Games. The concerns raised during the buildup to the Games proved largely unfounded as most events progressed smoothly.
The opening ceremony played a key role in improving the image of the Games. As athletes arrived and competitions started, many earlier critics changed their view. The Australian Sports Minister said that India could now aim for the Olympics, and the President of the International Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge, said that India had made a good foundation for a future Olympics bid. As the Games concluded, many observers remarked that they began on an apprehensive note, but were an exceptional experience with a largely positive ending. Some observers accused sections of the media of bias, unfair expectations, and negative reporting. The final medal tally was led by Australia. The host nation India gave its strongest performance yet to emerge second, while England placed third.
The 2010 Commonwealth Games closed on 14 October 2010 in a colourful closing ceremony featuring both Indian and Scottish performers. The closing ceremony was not as well received as the opening ceremony. The Commonwealth Games flag was handed over to representatives of Glasgow, Scotland, which hosted the XX Commonwealth Games in 2014. At the closing ceremony, the President of the Commonwealth Games Federation declared that Delhi had hosted a "truly exceptional Games". A day after the ceremony, Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond stated that "Scotland is highly impressed with Delhi's success in holding the multi-sport event, Delhi hosted a very successful Commonwealth Games. It will be a challenge to emulate".