A history of the Commonwealth Games

The countdown to the start of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow has begun.

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But how much do you know about the history of the Games? When did the Games begin and which Scots city has previously hosted the event?

With the help of our colleagues at the Mitchell Library, here's a simple guide to the history of the Commonwealth Games.

1930 British Empire Games

The city of Hamilton was the first host of the Commonwealth Games. Then called the British Empire Games, the sociological, cultural and political make-up of the Commonwealth movement has altered substantially since 1930.

The inaugural Games was utilitarian and very down to earth, proving that more doesn't necessarily mean better. The athletes' village was the Prince of Wales School next to the Civic Stadium, where the competitors slept two dozen to a classroom, whilst the women were housed in a separate hotel. Despite missing some basic comforts, the participants were unanimous in their praise for the Games and Hamilton's hospitality.

Eleven countries sent a total of 400 athletes to the Hamilton Games. Women competed only in the swimming events. The participant nations were Australia, Bermuda, British Guyana, Canada, England, Northern Ireland, Newfoundland, New Zealand, Scotland, South Africa and Wales.

The Hamilton Games ran at a cost of $97,973.00 and featured six sports: Aquatics (swimming & diving) Athletics Boxing Lawn Bowls Rowing Wrestling

The very first Games were the result of a remarkable feat of organisation. The decision to hold the Games was only finally confirmed in February 1930, yet by August of that same year all the preparations had been completed.

The famous Canadian sprinter, Percy Williams, read the oath of allegiance on behalf of the competitors, surrounded by the flag bearers of the eleven countries. The spectators then enthusiastically joined in the singing of 'God Save the King', fireworks were set off, doves were released as a symbol of the peaceful nature of the proceedings, and the Games had been changed from an idea to a reality. Two weeks of enjoyable sporting endeavour followed.  

The Scotland team of 19 competitors claimed an honourable share of the prizes, winning a total of two Gold, three Silver and five Bronze medals.  Particularly notable was Duncan McLeod Wright's victory in the Marathon with a time of just under 2 hours and 44 minutes, while our Boxing and Swimming teams both made a considerable impact, with Ellen King winning three medals.  The other Scottish Medal came in the Bowls Fours event.

Australiafinished fifth with three gold medals, four silver and one bronze. England was a convincing victor, with 25 gold, 23 silver, and 13 bronze.

1934 British Empire Games

London, August 4-11

Sixteen nations sent a total of 500 competitors to the Games in London. In addition to the 11 nations that competed in Hamilton, making their debut in London were Hong Kong, India, Jamaica, Zimbabwe (Rhodesia) and Trinidad. This was also to be the last time that Newfoundland took part independent of Canada.

Six sports were featured in the Games - athletics, boxing, cycling, lawn bowls, swimming and diving and wrestling. A highlight of the 1934 Games was the inclusion of events for women in athletics, with careful consideration given not to include events that were considered 'too exhaustive'. The running events were restricted to the short sprints and a shortened 4 x 220 yard relay instead of the 4 x 440 yard really as per the men's program. Nevertheless this was a breakthrough for women in sport that would one day lead to full recognition and programming for women's athletics on the international stage.

The athletes oath was read by the captain for the England Athletics team, R.L. Howland as follows:-

"We declare that we are loyal subjects of His Majesty the King, Emporer, and will take part in the British Empire Games in the spirit of true sportsmanship, recognising the rules which govern them and desirous of participating in them for the honour of our Empire and the Glory of Sport."

Originally scheduled for Johannesburg, South Africa, the II Games were hosted by London, in order to avoid a political crisis over South Africa's 'Apartheid' policy and its implications on visiting Commonwealth athletes and officials.

Scotlandclaimed a much larger crop of medals in London with five Gold, four Silver and 17 Bronze medals.  The Athletics and Swimming teams accounted for most of these, but Scots won medals in every sport with the exception of Cycling. London gave Scottish wrestling its only Gold to date, in Edward Melrose.

1938 British Empire Games 

Sydney, February 5-12

Held in the southern hemisphere for the first time, the Third British Empire Games marked the 150th anniversary of the founding of the first British Colony in Australia.

The Games Opening Ceremony took place at the famed Sydney Cricket Ground in front of 40,000 spectators who were keen to see Australia and New Zealand excel against England in particular.

Fifteen nations participated, involving a total of 464 athletes and 43 officials. New participants included Fiji and Ceylon.

Seven sports were featured in the Sydney Games: athletics, boxing, cycling, lawn bowls, rowing, swimming and diving and wrestling.

A significant change in the Swimming events was the increase pool length from 50 to 55 yards.

This time it was competitors from the northern hemisphere who were at a disadvantage since in their own countries it was the 'off-season' for most sports. In addition there was also the problem of keeping fit during the long sea journey to Australia. Nevertheless the standard of competition was generally very high, particularly in athletics. In the men's and women's track events, all but one of the existing Games records were broken.

The Australian women sprinter, Decima Norman, was the outstanding competitor at the Games. Norman won the remarkable total of five Gold medals by means of victories in the 100 yards, 220 yards, Long Jump and two sprint relays.

 Another interesting feature at Sydney was the victory of the English swimmer, John G Davies, in the 220 yards Breaststroke event. David broke the existing record in this competition by using what was later to become known as the Butterfly stroke. At the time it was merely regarded as a legitimate variation of the Breaststroke with the result that the record established by Davies in this event was to stand until 1958.  

During the course of the Sydney event a meeting of the British Empire Games Federation was held which awarded the 1942 Games to Montreal. They were of course never to take place due to the outbreak of the Second World War.

A much smaller Scottish contingent than usual undertook the long journey to Sydney and inevitably the result was that Scots competitors won far fewer medals.  Even with this factor taken into account, there is no doubt that from a Scottish viewpoint the 1938 Games were a disappointment since only two Silver and Three bronze medals were won by Scots.

1950 British Empire Games

Auckland, February 4-11

World War II interrupted the staging of the British Empire Games scheduled for 1942 and 1946, however the enthusiasm from within the British Empire to continue what was started in 1930 was strong.

The opening ceremony at Eden Park was attended by 40,000 spectators, whilst nearly 250,000 people attended the Auckland Games, paying out a total of ?89,435 ;as event spectators.

The atmosphere of the Opening Ceremony is best described by this paragraph from the Official Record of the Games:

"The entrance of the gladiators in the days of ancient Athens and ancient Rome could not have been more impressive than was that Parade at Eden Park on the afternoon of February 4, 1950. As one, the crowd stitted by the majesty of the colourful scene, wonderful too in its simplicity, rose to its feet to remain standing throughout the ceremony, cheering to the echo as the parade passed on its way around the stadium..."

Twelve countries sent a total of 590 athletes. Newly formed Malaysia and Nigeria made their first appearance.

Nine sports featured- athletics, boxing, cycling, fencing, lawn bowls, rowing, swimming and diving, weightlifting and wrestling.

The Games in Auckland saw a number of firsts with the introduction of the Games Village, air travel and chaperones.

Peter Heatly won his first gold for tower diving, a silver in springboard diving.  Had he not suffered an interruption to the last dive, he might have had a second gold.  Helen O Gordon won her gold in the breaststroke, beating the Games 200-yard record in 3 minutes 1.7 seconds.

James Hamilton, the cyclist, broke a leg in a race at Dunedin.  Water polo featured in Games history for the first and last time, as part of Aquatics.  One or two of the men in the team had given up jobs to travel and at least one, hammer gold medallist, Duncan Clark stayed on in New Zealand, where he stills lives.  After the Games, the Scottish, English, Welsh and Canadian contingents were taken on a tour of New Zealand, lasting three weeks.  They stayed in private homes.

On the whole, the Scottish party did well in winning a total of 5 Gold, 3 Silver and 2 Bronze medals.  Peter Heatly's contribution, at the 1950 Games, of Gold and Silver medals in the Diving events was particularly noteworthy.

1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games

Vancouver, July 30 to August 7

The 5th edition of the Games placed Vancouver on a world stage and featured memorable sporting moments as well as outstanding entertainment, technical innovation and cultural events.

24 countries sent a total of 662 athletes and 127 officials to the Vancouver Games. The 9 sports on the programme were athletics, boxing, cycling, lawn bowls, rowing, swimming and diving, weightlifting and wrestling.

Scotland flew as a party for the first time. Their Trans Canada Super Constellation inaugurated the first direct flights from Prestwick to Montreal. Even so, the journey took 13 hours.

World attention at the Games fixed upon the "Miracle Mile" won by Roger Bannister in 3 mins 58.8 secs, with John Landy second in 3 mins 59.6 secs in an event that was televised live across the world for the first time.  Then it switched to the drama of the marathon, in which Scotland's Joe McGhee took gold and England's Jim Peters took the headlines by driving himself beyond endurance.  He ran into the stadium for the last lap 15 minutes ahead of the field.  Then began the harrowing spectacle of his falling and rising time and again on buckling legs, until he collapsed short of the tape. 

But the glory of the Games for Scotland was the triumph of our three women swimmers in the medley relay.  Helen O Gordon, Margaret Girvan and Margaret McDowall won in a new Games record time of 3 mins 51 secs.  Victory against the swimming might of Australia, New Zealand, Canada and England had seemed too much to hope for. 

Helen O Gordon won the 220yds breaststroke again - her first gold was at Auckland - in the Games record time of 2 minutes 59.2 seconds.  Pat Devine, the lone woman in athletics, did not get among the medals, but equalled her best-ever time of 11.1 secs in the 100 yards.

Three boxers went out from Scotland.  Three boxing medals came home.  Dick Currie won the flyweight gold, John Smillie the bantam gold and Frank McQuillan was second in the lightweight division.  Peter Heatly had victories with a gold in the springboard and a bronze in tower diving.  

The final tally of six Gold medals was more than had ever previously been achieved and the Scots also gained two Silver and three Bronze medals.

1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games

Cardiff, July 18-26

The VI Games marked the largest sporting event ever held in Wales and it was the smallest country ever to host a British Empire and Commonwealth Games. 178,000 tickets were eventually sold during the Games.

The Cardiff Games introduced the Queen's Baton Relay, which has been conducted as a prelude to every British Empire and Commonwealth Games ever since.

England's famed middle distance runners, Roger Bannister and Chris Chattaway, were handed the honour of taking the Queen's Baton from Buckingham Palace on the first stage of its journey to Wales.

The Cardiff Games were to be South Africa's last until their post-apartheid return to the Games in 1994. A number of objections against South Africa took place in Cardiff because their team had been selected on the basis of race and colour rather than ability. South Africa subsequently withdrew from the Commonwealth in 1961 for 30 years.

Thirty-five nations sent a total of 1,122 athletes and 228 officials to the Cardiff Games and 23 countries and dependencies won medals, including for the first time, Singapore, Ghana, Kenya and the Isle of Man.

Nine sports were featured in the Cardiff Games - athletics, boxing, cycling, fencing, lawn bowls, rowing, swimming and diving, weightlifting and wrestling.

"Scots Wha Hae" was replaced at Cardiff by "Scotland The Brave", as the Scottish anthem and total of 144 competitors and officials was not far short of double the representation at London in 1934.  Money had come from the public more readily than before, to permit the Scottish show of strength.  Sir Alexander King's "Cinema Sundays" helped the funds considerably and his appointment as Commandant was fitting.  He was approaching 70 years of ages when he led the Scottish team into the arena.

The standard of competition at the Cardiff Games was very impressive.  Ten world records were broken and many new Commonwealth records were established.  Ian Black was undoubtedly the star of the Scottish Team but other Golds came from the boxer John Brown and in Weightlifting from Philip Caira, while Peter Heatly contributed yet another Gold in the Diving events.  The Athletics results proved disappointing but on the whole Scotland's final tally of four Gold, five Silver and three Bronze medals was extremely satisfying.

1962 British Empire and Commonwealth Games

Perth, Australia, November 21 to December 1

The VII Commonwealth Games are remembered for its "heat, dust and glory". The day before the Perth Games opened the temperature was an expected 80 degrees Fahrenheit, but the heat was measured at 105 degrees at the opening ceremony in the new Perry Lakes Stadium the following day and such extremes persisted throughout the Games' duration. In the previous 65 years, only 10 100 degree plus days had been recorded in Perth. Australian soldiers were pressed into action, ferrying water to competing athletes.

Thirty-five countries sent a total of 863 athletes and 178 officials to Perth. Jersey was amongst the medal winners for the first time, whilst British Honduras, Dominica, Papua New Guinea and St Lucia all made their inaugural Games appearances. Aden also competed by special invitation. Sabah, Sarawak and Malaya competed for the last time before taking part in 1966 under the Malaysian flag.

Nine sports were featured at the Perth Games - athletics, boxing, cycling, fencing, lawn bowls, rowing, swimming and diving, weightlifting and wrestling.

For Perth, the staging of the Commonwealth Games provided it with a springboard for phenominal development in sport and recreation, centered around the sports facilities that were built for the Games. These facilities have catered not only for elite sport but provided much needed opportunity for the development of organised recreational sport as well as a focus for Australia's first University degree Program in Physical Education.

The Scottish boxers again came home with two golds and weightlifter Phil Caira repeated his success of four years earliery in the light-heavy division. The fourth gold went to fencer Sandy Leckie in the foil. But Dick McTaggart had to be content with silver this time as did Willie Lindsay in both shot and discus, and Bobby McGregor in the blue riband event of the pool.

The Scots struggled in the Athletics and Swimming events but on the whole the final total of 4 gold, 7 silver and 3 bronze was very reasonable.

1966 British Empire and Commonwealth Games

Kingston, Jamaica, August 4-13

With the British Empire formally ended, the Kingston Games became the VIII British Commonwealth Games. There was a worry amongst the larger nations that Jamaica's infrastructure would not enable a successful Games delivery - but this proved to be largely unfounded. This was the first time that the Games had been held outside the so-called White Dominions.

 Kingston was elected host in Rome, Italy at the 1960 Summer Olympics.

Controversially, also, the event programme was altered for the first time since 1950 with lawn bowls and rowing dropped and replaced with badminton and shooting instead.

Thirty-four nations (including Aden and Saudi Arabia) competed in the Kingston Games sending a total of 1,316 athletes and officials.

The nine sports on the programme were were athletics, badminton, boxing, cycling, fencing, shooting, swimming and diving, weightlifting and wrestling.

Weather influenced the Kingston, Jamaica Games to the extent of turning normal routines topsy turvy. Track and field events were held under floodlights in the evening. The marathon and cycle road race were run in early morning. Diving was held early, too, to avoid winds which strengthened with the sun.

The Kingston Games were generally disappointing for the Scottish Team. James Alder's victory in the Marathon evoked memories of previous triumphs by Scots athletes in this event but it proved to be our only gold medal. Once again Bobby McGregor just missed a gold medal, and other silver medals came from Sandy Leckie, Tom Imrie and in Wrestling from Wallace Booth. The final tally was 1 gold, 4 silver and 4 bronze medals.

1970 British Commonwealth Games

The IX Games from the 16th to the 25th of July, 1970 in Edinburgh will be remembered for a number of firsts. It was the first time that metric distances and electronic photo-finish technology were employed at the Games and the first time that HM Queen Elizabeth II attended in her capacity as Head of the Commonwealth. This was also the first Commonwealth Games to be held in Scotland.

Scots will further remember the Games for the Stewart brothers Ian (gold) and Peter (4th) in the 5000 metres and Lachie Stewart (no relation) who took gold in the 10000 metres.

Forty-two nations sent a total of nearly 1,744 athletes and officials to the first Edinburgh Games. New medal winning nations included Tanzania, Malawi and St Vincent.

The 9 sports were featured in the Games - athletics, badminton, boxing, cycling, fencing, lawn bowls, swimming and diving, weightlifting and wrestling.

Scotland won 25 medals including six gold, four of which were in athletics a feat which has not been matched since. Highlights included the Stewart brothers on the track with Ian taking gold and Peter coming 4th in the 5000 metres whilst Lachie Stewart (no relation) took gold in the 10000 metres. Rosemary Wright won gold in the 800 metres and Rosemary Payne also took gold in the Discus. In Boxing Tommy Imrie won gold in the 71kg weight category and Sandy Leckie took gold in the Fencing Individual Sabre event.

1974 British Commonwealth Games

Christchurch,  January 24 to February 2

Following the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics, the X Games at Christchurch was the first multi-sport event to place the safety of participants and spectators as its uppermost requirement. Security guards surrounded the athlete's village and there was an exceptionally high-profile police presence. Even so, Christchurch enchanted the watching world as a city of beautiful churches and gardens.

On the running track, Jamaica's Don Quarrie successfully defended both his 1970 100m and 200m gold medals. Quarrie was to go on to win the 1978 100m as well.

On the track one of the greatest 1500 meter races of all time was held. The race was won by Filbert Bayi of Tanzania in a time of 3:32.2 - a new world record by almost a full second. Local runner John Walker also beat the previous world record.

Only 22 countries succeeded in winning medals from the total haul of 374 medals on offer, but first time winners included Western Samoa, Lesotho and Swaziland.

Nine sports were featured in these Games with 1,276 athletes taking part in athletics, badminton, boxing, cycling, lawn bowls, shooting, swimming and diving, weightlifting and wrestling.

The middle of a Scottish winter was not the ideal time to prepare for an antipodean mid-summer trip and so it proved in the outdoor sports at any rate. But there was an exception - the bowlers found the browns (there wasn't a blade of green grass in sight) so much to their liking that all returned with medals. John Christie and Alex McIntosh struck gold in the Pairs, Willie Wood captured the Singles bronze, behind the legendary David Bryant, and Morgan Moffat, John Marshall, Bill Scott and John McRae were also third in the Fours.  

A silver and two bronzes was the best the boxers could muster but that was better than the luckless athletes whose best was the silver won by Mrs "Bud" Payne in the discus.

Shooting provided two medals with the name of future world champion Alister Allan first appearing in the honours for smallbore rifle.  

An even bigger name saved Scotland's pride, and gave the team a boost it scarcely deserved, in the pool. David Wilkie captured two golds and a silver, winning the 200m breaststroke and 200m individual medley as well as finishing second in the 100m breaststroke.

1978 Commonwealth Games

Edmonton, Canada, August 3-12

The XI Games was the first to bear the current day name of the Commonwealth Games. Whilst Edmonton had won the right to host the Games with an audacious vision presented six years earlier to the Commonwealth Games Federation General Assembly, the organisers had to walk a careful tightrope in the immediate run up to the Edmonton Games to ensure that there was no repeat of the African nations boycott of the 1976 Montreal Olympics caused by a New Zealand rugby tour of South Africa.

Forty-six countries sent a total of 1,474 athletes and 504 officials to the Edmonton Games. As host nation, Canada also topped the medal table for the first time.

Ten sports were featured at the Edmonton Games - athletics, badminton, boxing, cycling, gymnastics, lawn bowls, shooting, swimming and diving, weightlifting and wrestling.

The Scottish contingent that travelled to Canada in 1978 was the largest that had ever been sent abroad, consisting of 100 competitors and 25 officials. The entire team flew direct to Edmonton by charter flight on 23rd July and were greeted at the airport by a welcoming crowd and the skirl of pipes. The standard of the facilities at the Games Village proved to be excellent, though due to the huge number of competitors that attended, the accommodation was a little cramped. A friendly and cheerful atmosphere prevailed throughout the Games and in particular, the Edmonton Scottish Society provided a wonderful display of traditional Scots hospitality.

On the sporting side there was much to be pleased about with two British and two Commonwealth Games records being set by Scots, and 13 national records being established. Allan Wells gave brilliant performances, winning a gold and a silver in individual events and capturing another gold, along with David Jenkins, Cameron Sharp and Drew McMaster, in the 4x100m Relay.

The other Scottish gold medal at Edmonton came from shooter Alister Allan in the smallbore 50m rifle with a wonderful display of marksmanship. It was also encouraging that our other medals, six silver and five bronze, were spread throughout seven different sports, and the performance of Billy Gilliland and Joanna Flockhart in the Badminton Mixed Doubles was particularly noteworthy.

1982 Commonwealth Games

Brisbane, September 30 to October 9

The Brisbane Games are still hailed as one of the very best. Everything went so well from the moment Matilda, a 13-metre mechanical kangaroo, helped out with the opening ceremonies.

Forty-six nations participated with a new record total of 1,583 athletes and 571 officials. As hosts, Australia headed the medal table leading the way ahead of England, Canada, Scotland and New Zealand respectively.

The men's 200m gold was shared by England's Mike McFarlane and Scotland's Allan Wells, with judges unable to separate the pair at the winning post.

Ten sports featured at the Brisbane Games - archery, athletics, badminton, boxing, cycling, lawn bowls, shooting, swimming and diving, weightlifting and wrestling.

Scotland took a team of 101 athletes and 24 officials and for the team of four Archers, the sport's first time in the Games.

Scotland's Highlights

The Brisbane Games saw an impressive 26 medals won, equalling the best ever Scottish performance at that time and including a record number of eight Gold medals.

Athletics led the medal charge and saw the dominance of reigning Commonwealth and Olympic champion Allan Wells continuing.  His win in the 100m saw him nearly dipping under the 10 second barrier matched by a dead heat in the 200m.  Anne Clarkson bravely won 800m Silver despite two broken ribs.  Scotland's sprint dominance in Athletics was shown by Cameron Sharp's Bronze in both the 100m and 200m and the Men's 4x100m relay team who won Bronze to follow their 1978 gold.  The Women's 4x400m relay team also came away with a Bronze to match.  

Meg Ritchie won Gold in the Women's Discus in a Games record with further medals won in the Pole Vault to Graham Eggleton and in the Hammer to Chris Black. 

The Lawn Bowlers won Golds for Willie Wood in the Men's Singles and in the Pairs for John Watson and David Gourley who won on a shots aggregate.

In Shooting, Scotland's greatest Commonwealth Games medal winner Alister Allan won Gold and Bronze in the Pairs events with Bill MacNeil, then an individual Gold, a feat duplicated by Arthur Clarke.  Further medals were won in the Pistol and Trap events.  In all, seven of the 11 shooters gained medals.

Further medals were won in Swimming with Robin Brew's individual Silver complemented by one Silver and three Bronze medals in relay events.  

Albert Patrick's Wrestling Bronze meant that six of the 10 sports attending the Games came back from Brisbane with medals.

1986 Commonwealth Games

Edinburgh, July 24 to August 2

After nearly two decades successfully averting political stay-aways and protests because of apartheid and sanction-busting sports tours to South Africa, the XIII Games, the second to be staged at Edinburgh, was to become known as "the Boycott Games". Sadly, 32 Commonwealth nations decided that they could not attend, because of their opposition to apartheid in sport.

Twenty-six nations did attend the second Edinburgh Games and sent a total of 1,662 athletes and 461 officials.

Ten sports were featured at the second Edinburgh Games: Aquatics (diving, synchronised swimming & swimming), Athletics, Badminton, Boxing, Cycling, Lawn Bowls, Rowing, Shooting, Weightlifting, Wrestling.

Scotland won its highest ever medal tally of 33 including three gold. Highlights included Liz McColgan winning gold in the 10,000 metres; medals were also won by Yvonne Murray and Tom McKean, Scotland's other two emerging middle distance stars who would dominate the rest of the 1980s,in Badminton Dan Travers and Billy Gilliland winning gold in the Men's Doubles; and in Lawn Bowls George Adrain and Grant Knox winning gold in the Men's Pairs.

Scotland's Highlights

The Men's 4x100m Relay team continued on their medal winning ways with another Bronze, whilst Geoff Parsons won the first of what would be three medals at consecutive Games in the High Jump.

In Boxing, seven medals were won by the 10 Boxers but unfortunately there was no Gold.  The unluckiest Boxers probably being Jim McAllister retiring after a cut and Dougie Young who was well ahead on points before being caught by New Zealand's Jimmy Peau with a desperate punch 32 seconds from the end.

In Cycling, Eddie Alexander won Scotland's first medal since 1970.

Rowing - The return of Rowing saw Scotland's first ever medal in the Coxless Pairs on a Strathclyde Park course later to host the World Championships.  This event was notable for Scotland's finest ever Rower, Peter Haining being forced to compete for England due to residency criteria and winning Gold for the "Auld Enemy".

Silver and Bronze medals were won in Swimming, Wrestling and Weightlifting with perhaps the most meritorious performance being the 4th by Weightlifter John McNiven competing in his sixth Games.

1990 Commonwealth Games

The 1990 Commonwealth Games were held in Auckland, between January 24 to February 3.

The XIV Commonwealth Games, the third to be hosted by New Zealand and Auckland's second, witnessed a fantastic opening ceremony comprising a magnificent and moving portrayal of the forces that led to the formation of New Zealand society and culture. The opening of the games comprised a variety of events, including the arrival of The Queen's representative The Prince Edward (her youngest son), the arrival of the Queen's Baton and many MÄ?ori ceremonial stories.

A more relaxed affair was held for the 14th Commonwealth Games closing ceremony, reflecting that of Christchurch in 1974. Attended by HM The Queen, formality and respect played their due part in the beginning with formal salute and the acceptance of the Commonwealth Games flag to the next host city, Victoria, Canada. This was followed by a Native American and modern Canadian dancing display.

Then the fun began with thousands of children entering the stadium with a mass jumprope demonstration, followed by the Athletes themselves. The Queen then made the traditional closing speech and called for all the Commonwealth's athletes to assemble in four years time in Victoria BC in 1994

Thankfully, the perennially threatened boycott gave way to a new positive spirit of co-operation far more in keeping with the image of "The Friendly Games" and a new record of 55 nations participated in the second Auckland Games sending 2,826 athletes and officials.

Twenty-nine of the competing nations succeeded in winning medals from a total of 639 medals available. Australia headed the medals table with New Zealand claiming fourth place behind England and Canada.

Ten sports featured in the second Auckland Games - athletics, aquatics (diving, swimming & synchronised swimming), badminton, boxing, cycling, gymnastics, judo, lawn bowls, shooting and weightlifting.

Scotland won 22 medals including five Gold. Highlights included Liz McColgan winning Gold in the 10,000 metres; Boxer Charles Kane winning Gold in the 63.5kg weight category; Loretta Cusack winning Gold in Judo 56kg; Gold for the Lawn Bowls Men's Fours (Willie Wood, George Adrain, Denis Love, Ian Bruce); and Shooters Ian Marsden and James Dunlop in the Skeet Men's Pairs.

1994 Commonwealth Games

Following the successful Victoria delegation to the Commonwealth Games Federation in 1988, the XV Games were held in Canada for the fourth time between August 18-28. The end of apartheid in the early part of the decade also heralded the return of South Africa to the Commonwealth Games and ensured that the era of threatened boycotts was over. Both the opening and closing ceremonies were held at Victoria's Centennial Stadium, which had undergone a superb refit in honour of the Games.

Sixty-three nations sent 2,557 athletes and 914 officials as the Commonwealth Games burgeoned at Victoria. Once again, Australia headed the medals table whilst the hosts, Canada, pushed England into third place. Nigeria marked its arrival as a Commonwealth sporting force by picking up more gold medals than both New Zealand and India. Hong Kong said farewell to the Games with the territory becoming a special administrative region of the People's Republic of China in 1997.

Ten sports were featured at the Victoria Games - athletics, aquatics (diving, swimming & synchronised swimming), badminton, boxing, cycling, gymnastics, lawn bowls, shooting, weightlifting and

Scotland won 20 medals including six gold. Amongst the highlights were Yvonne Murray winning gold in the 10,000 metres; Boxing gold for Paul Shepherd in the 51kg weight category; three Lawn Bowls gold medals in the Women's Pairs (Frances Whyte and Sarah Gourlay), Men's Singles (Richard Corsie) and Men's Visually Impaired (Lawson Brand) and Gold for shooter Shirley McIntosh in the Smallbore 50m Rifle Prone.

1998

For the first time in the 68-year history of the Commonwealth Games, the host city was situated in Asia.

The XVI Games, they were held at Kuala Lumpur in the Malaysian state of Selangor from September 10-20.

Malaysia placed their own flavor on the Games, with the Queen's Baton being carried into the stadium on an elephant. The baton was presented to Prince Edward by Malaysia's first ever Commonwealth medal winner Koh Eng Tong, a bronze medalist in weightlifting in 1954.

A new record of 70 countries sent a total of 5,250 athletes and officials to the Kuala Lumpur Games.

Fifteen sports were featured in the Kuala Lumpur Games - aquatics, athletics, badminton, boxing, cricket, cycling, gymnastics, hockey, netball, lawn bowls, rugby 7s, shooting, tenpin bowling, weightlifting and wrestling.

Four new sports were introduced in this year's games, and this included the first time team sports will be played at the Commonwealth Games. The new sports were Cricket, Men's and Women's Hockey, Netball and Rugby - 7's

In an attempt to modernize the Games, several team sports were included - such as cricket, rugby and netball and men's and women's field hockey. Up until this time, team sports had not been included in order to emphasize that the games were between individuals and not nations. The team sports were an overwhelming success that added large numbers to both participators and TV audience numbers.

The top five countries in the medal standing were Australia, England, Canada, Malaysia and South Africa. Nauru also achieved an impressive haul of three gold medals.

2002 Commonwealth Games

The XVII Commonwealth Games was the most significant multi-sport event to be held in the United Kingdom since the Olympics of 1948. It was the largest in the history of the Commonwealth Games in terms of participating nations with 72 countries taking part across 14 individual and three team sports from July 25 to August 4. The Games took on added significance in 2002 as the Head of the Commonwealth, Her Majesty the Queen, celebrated her Golden Jubilee.

The successful hosting of these multi sport games demonstrated to the world that the UK was more than capable of hosting events of such magnitude and this played a significant part in securing the 2012 Olympic Games for the city of London.

The sports were contested by 3,679 athletes on a programme that included; Aquatics (diving, swimming & synchronised swimming), Athletics, Badminton, Boxing, Cycling, Gymnastics, Hockey, Judo, Lawn Bowls, Netball, Rugby 7s, Shooting, Squash, Table Tennis, Triathlon, Weightlifting and Wrestling.

For the first time in the Games history, indeed at any multi-sport event in the world, a limited number of full medal events for elite athletes with a disability (EAD) were included in a fully inclusive sports programme. The sports which included EAD events were Athletics, Lawn Bowls, Swimming, Table Tennis and Weightlifting.

Scotland's team of 202 athletes gave one of its best ever performances, winning 30 medals including six gold. Highlights included cyclist Chris Hoy winning gold in the 1km Time Trial on the track; Alison Sheppard winning gold in the pool in the 50m Freestyle; Graeme Randall winning gold in Judo 81kg; Lawn Bowlers Alex Marshall and George Sneddon winning gold in the Men's Pairs; David Heddle, John Robertson and Ivan Prior winning gold in the Lawn Bowls Triples Physically Disabled; and Scotland's first ever Artistic Gymnastics medal with gold on the rings from Steve Frew.

Australia (82 gold), England (54 gold) and Canada (31 gold) occupied the top three spots while India for the first time made it to the top five with 30 gold, as New Zealand with 11 gold were fifth.

One of the smallest nations captured one of the most prized medals in Manchester when Kim Collins of St Kitts and Nevis, sprinted to victory in the 100m.

2006 Commonwealth Games

The Australian city of Melbourne, successfully hosted the XVIII Commonwealth Games between the March 15-26.

Whilst Bendigo, the venue for the 2004 Commonwealth Youth Games, and Lilydale hosted two of the shooting disciplines the majority of the sports venues were located along the Yarra River and within the city precinct. The Opening and Closing Ceremonies as well as the athletics competition took place at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), one of the world's largest and most outstanding outdoor sporting grounds. The Athletes Village was located within three kilometres of the city centre.

For the first time in the history of the Games the Queen's Baton visited every single Commonwealth nation and territory taking part in the Games, a journey of 180,000 kms (112,500 miles). The relay ended when the Governor of Victoria, and former Commonwealth Games medallist, John Landy delivered the baton to Her Majesty the Queen at the Melbourne Cricket Ground during the Opening Ceremony.

The sports on the programme were: Aquatics (diving, swimming & synchronised swimming), Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Boxing, Cycling (track & road), Gymnastics, Hockey, Lawn Bowls, Netball, Rugby 7s, Shooting, Squash, Table Tennis, Triathlon, Weightlifting

There were approximately 5,766 athletes and team officials in attendance in Melbourne with the home nation having the largest team with 535 athletes and officials and the volcanic island of Montserrat the smallest with 4 members.

This was the fifth Games that Australia had hosted and the first time since 1982.

Scotland's Highlights

Returning with 11 gold, 7 silver and 11 bronze, a total of 29 medals, placing sixth on the medal table, the 2006 team was Scotland's most successful team in Commonwealth Games history.

30 team members won a total of 29 medals across nine sports. There were 11 gold medallists, including four double gold medallists (Caitlin McClatchey, Gregor Tait, David Carry, Sheena Sharp.

Swimming was the team's most successful sport winning twelve medals (six gold, three silver, three bronze). This performance made swimming the most successful Commonwealth Games sport of all time.

Scotland's top athlete of the Games was swimmer Gregor Tait who won 2 gold, 2 bronze medals.

2010 Commonwealth Games

The vibrant city of New Delhi, home to 14 million people, hosted the Commonwealth Games in October 2010. This was the first time India has hosted the Games and only the second time the event has been held in Asia (Kuala Lumpur in 1998 was the first).

Delhi won the right to host the 2010 Games by defeating the Canadian city of Hamilton by 46 votes to 22 at the CGF General Assembly held in Montego Bay in November 2003.

The dates for the Games wereOctober 3-14, inclusive of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

The Delhi Games Village was a low rise medium development on a 40 acre site in the heart of the capital which housed 6,500 athletes and officials. Existing and new stadia was used to house the following sports:

Archery, Aquatics, Athletics, Badminton, Boxing, Cycling, Gymnastics, Hockey, Lawn Bowls, Netball, Rugby 7s, Shooting, Squash, Table Tennis, Tennis, Weightlifting and Wrestling.

In addition, 15 events were contested across 4 Para-Sports, for elite athletes with a disability, on the inclusive Sports Programme:

Athletics, Swimming, Powerlifting and Table Tennis.

India had its best games ever going from just one bronze in the 1934 games to 101 medals in 2010 including 38 gold, coming second overall. Australia was out in front with 74 gold medals and 178 in total. England came third, taking home 37 gold medals and 142 in total.

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