Australia's Michael Shelley runs past Callum Hawkins after the Scot's collapse in the men’s marathon. Picture: Tracey Nearmy/AAP
Australia's Michael Shelley runs past Callum Hawkins after the Scot's collapse in the men’s marathon. Picture: Tracey Nearmy/AAP

Brutal review of ‘tainted’ Games

THE Commonwealth Games was supposed to be the event that showcased Australia and its sporting prowess to the world.

And showcase we did, falling just two medals short of a whopping 200 and blitzing the competition to come an easy first on the medal tally.

But Australian domination aside, there was an aspect of the 11-day event that left a sour taste in the mouths of other Commonwealth nations.

In a scathing article published by The Times, British writer Rick Broadbent wrote it was our nation's "jingoism and hollering" that "drowned out the many pluses" of the Gold Coast Games.

"Turn down the jingoism Australia, this wasn't the Olympics (or even close)," Broadbent tweeted.

And there's no denying Australia's apparent jingoism - an extreme form of patriotism - was on display at the Commonwealth Games event.

The Australian swim team’s medal tally at the Gold Coast games broke records. Picture: Alex Coppel.
The Australian swim team’s medal tally at the Gold Coast games broke records. Picture: Alex Coppel.

Channel Seven regularly interrupted its  broadcasts to showcase the medal board, which at one point had Australia's total sitting at double any other competing nation.

Even Sunrise dived in on the medal boasting, with co-host David Koch poking fun at the Brits last week when comparing its medal tally to Australia's.

The Sunrise host made a point of adding up the amount of medals the UK would have if it were a combined nation competing - and joking how the Aussies still had them covered.

"I am feeling a bit sorry for the English, though," Koch said.

"They have double our population and we are just flogging them in the medal count with 50 gold medals.

"What I thought I would do is go back to the old Great Britain, bring in Scotland and Wales to boost their confidence.

"I have done a medal tally, our gold medal tally is 50 gold medals and as a combined, they only have 37.

"Their total medals is just 125, still just to make you feel better, you are still not as good. In total Great Britain has 65 million people.

"I just thought I would do that calculation."

It was moments like that that clearly didn't sit well with the Brits.

 Broadbent wrote: "Enduring memories, though, will be tainted by the rampant jingoism of the host broadcasters and an unbridled desire to thrash everybody out of sight.

"Most countries have treated this fortnight as a Commonwealth Games, but Channel Seven thinks it is an Olympics with bells on."

Michael Shelley of Australia runs past collapsed Scotsman Callum Hawkins to win the marathon. Picture: Tracey Nearmy
Michael Shelley of Australia runs past collapsed Scotsman Callum Hawkins to win the marathon. Picture: Tracey Nearmy

Perhaps it was Australia's lacklustre effort at the past few Olympics that led to our nation's desperation to impress - pressure that only increased because of our home soil advantage.

According to The Times, our nation's desperate desire to impress could be summed up in the moment Australian marathon runner Michael Shelley ran past his collapsed competitor, Scotsman Callum Hawkins, to claim the gold medal just minutes later.

"You can't really blame him, and Robbie Simpson, another Scot, kept on running too," Broadbent wrote. "But it would have been the moment."

But the Commonwealth Games wasn't without those moments.

Three Aussie runners, who were praised the world over, said they just wanted to show a "bit of sportsmanship" when they waited on the track for Lineo Chaka of Lesotho, the final runner of the women's 10,000m, to finish the race.

"You see these moments in time where an athlete helps someone, like a Brownlee (Alistair) helping his brother  (Jonny) off the floor because he is completely wrecked," Commonwealth Games Federation CEO David Grevemberg told reporters, referencing the 2016 World Triathlon Championships.

"Can we really expect an athlete to do that? We would hope they show that care and empathy, but you can't script that."

Celia Sullohern, Madeline Hills, Eloise Wellings of Australia congratulate Lineo Chaka of Lesotho. Picture: Dean Lewins
Celia Sullohern, Madeline Hills, Eloise Wellings of Australia congratulate Lineo Chaka of Lesotho. Picture: Dean Lewins

The Brownlee brothers, triathlon heavyweights from the UK, nabbed silver medals at the Gold Coast games and told NewsCorp it was "nothing to be embarrassed about".

"Silver is nothing to be embarrassed about - I would have rather have gotten gold though," Jonny said.

"Unfortunately we were beaten by a better Australian team at the end of the day."

And despite the Games being a ratings hit for Channel Seven, there's no denying many Commonwealth nations are falling out of love and lacking interest in the Commonwealth Games.

Gold Coasters fled their city by the thousands in a bid to avoid traffic and games chaos, having a detrimental effect on local business.

And even when Birmingham excitedly showed off its city as the destination for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Sunday's panned closing ceremony, few would have remembered the UK city was actually the second city awarded the 2022 gig.

The South African city of Durban originally won the 2022 Games but was stripped of them after it couldn't handle the associated costs.

The inability of many Commonwealth nations to afford the economic pressures of staging the Commonwealth Games means Perth is already being touted as the favourite to host the event in 2026.


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