Commonwealth Games: a ‘modern and edgy’ or ‘uncertain’ future?

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Commonwealth Games: a ‘modern and edgy’ or ‘uncertain’ future?

After 12 days of sporting action the 2022 Commonwealth Games came to an end with a spectacular closing ceremony at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham last night. Fireworks lit up the venue as fans celebrated their favourite athletes and many special guests, including legendary Brummie rocker Ozzy Osbourne, headlined the stage show. On the sporting side there was a “familiar look” to the final medal table with Australia finishing top ahead of England and Canada, said Mike Henson on BBC Sport. On the social side, Birmingham “gorged” on all the drama with the event being the “best-attended of any Commonwealth Games with more than 1.3m tickets sold”.Praising Birmingham for doing an “outstanding job”, federation chief Katie Sadleir said the “future is bright” for commonwealth sport. However, if the event is to stay relevant to a young audience then the games must be “modern and edgy”, AFP reported. “People ask, ‘is the Commonwealth movement dead?’” she said. “Well, to me it does not seem to be. Look at ticket sales, look who is showing up here, It is very much relevant, absolutely. As one says, it is never over until it is over.”The baton has now been handed over to the Australian state of Victoria, which will welcome the next edition of the games in 2026. ‘Not been an easy sell’Sport Minister Nigel Huddleston hailed the Birmingham games for its “amazing achievements”, being the fastest ever delivered and for being the most inclusive. The city’s “frenetic energy, human touch and swelling sense of pride” have no doubt “reinvigorated a concept which badly needed such enthusiastic hosts”, said Henson on BBC Sport. However, the games “didn’t have everything” though.  Britain’s “billboard stars” Dina Asher-Smith, Max Whitlock, Katie Archibald and Tom Daley all missed out as they “rested body and mind”. And Jamaican sprinters Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson decided to compete in the “more lucrative” Diamond League event in Poland. Staging the Commonwealths “has not been an easy sell” in recent years, Henson added. While the athletes “make the Olympic Games”, it was “the fans who bailed out the Commonwealth Games”, said Andy Bull in The Guardian. ‘Too big and too expensive’Osbourne and Black Sabbath “fittingly” capped a “buzzing fortnight” in England’s second city, said Reuters. It may, however, “be the last time the multi-sport event makes such a big noise”.Australia and its “sports-mad fans” will welcome the 2026 games in the southern state of Victoria, but “it promises to be a much different affair to the Birmingham bash”. Barring the opening ceremony, the 2026 games are set to “skip the Victoria capital and cultural heart” Melbourne, and “scatter the sports across multiple regional centres”. Birmingham was “a good host” and it “felt ready for its moment”, Bull added. The West Midlands city “got it right”, but the future of the Commonwealth Games is “uncertain”. The games have “undoubtedly got too big, and too expensive”, which is “one reason why they will be split between multiple sites in Victoria in 2026”.Organisers have also tried to have the games “break from their colonial past”, Reuters added. But by their nature “they remain rooted to the former British Empire and are seen as an anachronism in the post-colonial age”. While those criticisms are “unlikely to fade with time”, the games are “likely to plough on regardless”. Like 73-year-old Sabbath frontman Osbourne, “they can still put on a show even if their best years are well behind them”.Read More

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