Commonwealth Games

by Roseann Wagner

The Olympics and Tour de France are world-class events of which we’ve all heard. Although we are close neighbors to a Commonwealth nation, Canada, what do you know about the Commonwealth Games? And what is Arizona’s connection to those Games? Read on.

Australian cycling team training on Lake Mary Road outside Flagstaff , AZ. photo courtesy Hypo2 High Performance  Sport Center / Tom Brownold photography.

Australian cycling team training on Lake Mary Road outside
Flagstaff , AZ. photo courtesy Hypo2 High Performance
Sport Center / Tom Brownold photography.

The Commonwealth is an association of independent sovereign states spread over every continent and ocean. From Africa to Asia, the Pacific shores to the Caribbean, the Commonwealth’s 2.2 billion people make up 30% of the world’s population and are of many faiths, races, languages, cultures and traditions.

The Commonwealth Games is a unique, world class, multi-sports event which is held once every four years. It is often referred to as the ‘Friendly Games’ uniting the Commonwealth Nations through sport.

The first Commonwealth Games were held in 1930 in Hamilton, Canada where 11 countries sent 400 athletes to take part in 6 sports and 59 events. Then they were called the British Empire Games. It was the 1978 Games in Edmonton that saw this unique, world class, multi-sports event change its name to the Commonwealth Games. The Games have been conducted every four years (except for 1942 and 1946 due to World War II) and the event has seen many changes, not least in its name.
Only single competition sports had been on the program from 1930 up to and including the 1994 Games in Victoria. The 1998 Games in Kuala Lumpur saw the introduction of team sports with nations taking part in cricket, hockey, netball and rugby.

The story of the Games evolved yet again on the 9th November 2007 when Glasgow (Scotland) was awarded the right to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Following the hugely successful Games in Glasgow the Gold Coast (Australia) will host the 2018 edition. This Queensland city won the rights to host the Games at the 2011 General Assembly. The hosts of the 2022 Commonwealth Games will be named on the 2nd September 2015 at the annual General Assembly in Auckland, New Zealand.
Eighteen cities in seven countries have hosted the event. Apart from many Olympic sports, the games also include some sports that are played predominantly in Commonwealth countries, such as lawn bowls and netball.

Although there are 53 members of the Commonwealth of Nations, 71 teams participate in the Commonwealth Games, as a number of dependent territories compete under their own flag. The four Home Nations of the United Kingdom—England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland— also send separate teams. Only six countries have attended every Commonwealth Games: Australia, Canada, England, New Zealand, Scotland, and Wales.

Lawn bowler Willie Wood from Scotland was the first competitor to have competed in seven Commonwealth Games, from 1974 to 2002, a record equalled in 2014 by Isle of Man cyclist Andrew Roche. Nauruan weightlifter Marcus Stephen won twelve medals at the Games between 1990 and 2002, of which seven were gold, and was elected President of Nauru in 2007. His performance has helped place Nauru (the smallest independent state in the Commonwealth, at about 8 square miles and with a population of fewer than 9,400 in 2011) in nineteenth place on the all-time Commonwealth Games medal table. Not bad for a country that joined the Commonwealth less than 50 years ago. It is located northeast of Australia on the equator. Cycling is one of the sports at the quadrennial Commonwealth Games competition. It has been a Commonwealth Games sport since the 1934 British Empire Games, the precursor of the present Commonwealth Games.

Sean Anthony, Hypo2 High
Performance Sports Center

Over the years, Australia has led the Games competition with 209 medals, 96 Gold, 67 Silver and 46 Bronze. England and New Zealand with 108 and 97 medals respectively over the years come in second and third.

The Arizona connection to the Games is that Flagstaff hosted eight cyclists. Sean Anthony, Managing Director of Hypo2 High Performance Sport Center in Flagstaff says, “We mostly work with elite international athletes. We ran an altitude-training camp for Cycling Australia in June/July and they went on to win 10 medals (5 gold, 4 silver, and 1 bronze) in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.”

Gold medalists in the Cycling-Track category are Alex Edmondson, 4000m Team Pursuit; Annette Edmondson, Scratch Race; Glenn P. O’Shea, 4000m Team Pursuit; Luke Davison, 4000m Team Pursuit; Scott Sunderland, 1km Time Trial .

Silver winners are Alex Edmondson, 4000m Individual Pursuit; Amy Cure, Scratch Race; Annette Edmondson, 3000m Individual Pursuit; Glenn P O’Shea, Scratch Race.

A bronze was awarded to Amy Cure for 3000m Individual Pursuit.

Cycling is an optional sport for men and women, first included on the program in London in 1934 with 7 countries entering participants. Cycling has featured in every Commonwealth Games since and in Melbourne 2006 37 countries entered athletes. A city has the option of including any or all of 3 different cycling disciplines; track, road and mountain bike. The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games will be remembered as one of most successful Games ever. 71 nations and territories competed in 17 sports over 11 days, 23 July to 4 August. From the precision of lawn bowls to the exciting combat of boxing, judo & wrestling – from the high adrenaline of athletics & cycling track events to the grace and beauty of gymnastics, the city of Glasgow staged a fantastic summer of sport, as well as a range of cultural and arts events for everyone. Most sports took place in three compact venue clusters within the city borders, with the shooting program held at Carnoustie, the diving events in Edinburgh and the triathlon races at Strathclyde Country Park. by Roseann Wagner

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