18th Commonwealth Games
March 15, 2006 2:15 AM   Subscribe

The 18th Commonwealth Games are about to be opened by the HM the Queen of Australia, in Melbourne. Formerly the British Empire Games, from the days when much of the world was coloured pink, the Games may mean little , with few world class performers, and the usual list of questions and run of controversies, but there's nothing like circuses to keep the plebs entertained. At least Australia will thrash Sierra Leone in the althletics.
posted by wilful (34 comments total)
Amongst the 'countries' currently walking out are international powerhouses such as the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey... Hey, maybe Sierra Leone does have a chance!
posted by wilful at 2:21 AM on March 15, 2006

But those Isle of Man-ers are odds-on to win the three-legged race.
posted by bunglin jones at 2:45 AM on March 15, 2006

What's an AFL footballer doing there? It's a disaster. It took about five minutes for someone to say, "Quintessential icon of Australia." Spare me.

Lovely use of the Church's Under the Milky Way Tonight, though.
posted by emf at 3:04 AM on March 15, 2006

"With few world class performers"? I was under the impression that all of the olympic-class athletes from Canada, Australia, and the UK went to these things.
posted by antifuse at 3:14 AM on March 15, 2006

OK now they're seriously taking the piss... "Happy Birthday to you"????
posted by wilful at 3:14 AM on March 15, 2006

Yeah so Australia has some swimmers and rowers and hockey players, and...
posted by wilful at 3:15 AM on March 15, 2006

...is really glad your not here?
posted by a. at 3:23 AM on March 15, 2006

I'm not planning on watching the Commonwealth Games, and i have no doubt the opening Ceremony ended up being cringe worthy, but don't for one minute try and open a MeFi post in an attempt to trash the whole event just because only the Commonwealth is represented.

The Commonwealth Games are for the atheletes of the Commonwealth, not for some person to sit back in front of a television and heckle them.

Turn the television off.
posted by a. at 3:38 AM on March 15, 2006

The Commonwealth encompasses about one third of the World's population, so statistically there must be quite a few world-class athletes there.
posted by PurpleJack at 3:39 AM on March 15, 2006

I do think Her Majesty should have asked "Does my head look big this?", It looked like something out of the Mad Hatters Tea Party with that crazy arse feather sticking out the front.
posted by tellurian at 3:43 AM on March 15, 2006

Careful, wilful. You're only 5 miles away from me. I'll send ASIO goons over to arrest your arse for bagging your fellow Australians. Of course I'm sure they've introduced a new law just for that in light of the Commonwealth Games! Anyway, what a. said. Don't be a dick.
posted by sjvilla79 at 3:46 AM on March 15, 2006

And the ceremony to open the event was fucking ace. Good for them.
posted by sjvilla79 at 3:48 AM on March 15, 2006

aw man... I forgot to link to the punchline for my Isle of Man joke
posted by bunglin jones at 4:09 AM on March 15, 2006

I swear to god, I can't wait until these fucking games are over and all the tourists get the hell out of my back yard...
posted by russm at 4:53 AM on March 15, 2006

... the Games may mean little ...

Oh, I think that's an overstatement.

emf: I was under the impression that all of the olympic-class athletes from Canada, Australia, and the UK went to these things.

Foot injury rules Radcliffe out of Games
Injured Hackett puts career before Games
Thorpe out of Commonwealth Games
Limo to miss Commonwealth Games

Injury, indifference ... take your pick.

The Australian women's swimming team will treat the meeting like a training session. Asafa Powell will stroll to victory. The only sport that can claim to have a top-flight, in-depth turn-out is netball.

Netball for fuck's sake.

And every third article seems to mention how the primary benefit of the competition is to expose young athletes to competing in front of large audiences.

Despite hundreds of thousands of tickets remaining unsold.

Hardly the stuff of elite competition.

a.: The Commonwealth Games are for the atheletes of the Commonwealth, not for some person to sit back in front of a television and heckle them. Turn the television off.

Look, I'm all for the glass being half full, but this costs money (A$100 million a day is what this is costing Victoria). Sydney 2000 might have just possibly maybe had a positive benefit, but this is bollocks.

Oh, and as for turning the TV off, Channel Nine's going to kick themselves when they see how badly this primary school carnival rates.
posted by bright cold day at 5:22 AM on March 15, 2006

I was just walking around in Sydney the other day and who else but the Queen drives by. I didn't even know she was in town. Pretty surreal to be just minding one's own business, come across a barricade and then see the Queen whiz down the street doing that royal wave.

I waved back, but I think she missed it...
posted by qwip at 5:52 AM on March 15, 2006

bright cold day: but I just saw bracksie on TV this evening talking about all the money the tourists will spend in cafes and bars... surely that'll offset the running costs and leave us with a net profit... or something...
posted by russm at 5:52 AM on March 15, 2006

netball. hehe.
posted by wakko at 8:41 AM on March 15, 2006

Isn't anyone going to mention the fact that Microsoft released a patch for Windows because Autralia changed daylight savings in 5 states to accomodate the games?
posted by blue_beetle at 8:46 AM on March 15, 2006

Well, we in the Falkland Islands are sending six of our best. The Falklands team include a gold prospector, an '82 veteran, and several sheep farmers. They're bringing their guns, so watch what you say about the games.

It's a big deal for the little nations, even when they come back empty-handed. These kinds of people don't compete in many international athletics meetings.
posted by penguin pie at 9:17 AM on March 15, 2006

No, blue_beetle, no one is going to mention that.
posted by tommasz at 9:33 AM on March 15, 2006

Chantal Petitclerc, one of Canada's most decorated athletes, was our flag-bearer. Just 11 years ago she was chased on the very same track by security.
posted by docgonzo at 11:39 AM on March 15, 2006

I'm all for Commonwealth-related events, I think it's good for us to stick together (and remind ourselves that we really ought to listen to the US a bit less) ... but the Games are a lot of money for very little gain. At least it's kind of fun?
posted by blacklite at 12:19 PM on March 15, 2006

All hail the Saint Helena team.
posted by cillit bang at 3:10 PM on March 15, 2006

The Commonwealth Games are for the atheletes of the Commonwealth, not for some person to sit back in front of a television and heckle them.

I think it's very nice that a lot of colonies and micro-nations get to go to an international aths meet - good for them! But as bright cold day has already said, these athletes are running around on my taxes, so I can do all the damned heckling I want.

Netball probably is the most elite competition there, though hockey would be pretty strong, only missing the Netherlands really. Rugby has most of the better nations, only missing France Italy and Argentina.
posted by wilful at 3:11 PM on March 15, 2006

I like the smaller athletic meets, the Commonwealth Games and the Pan-Am Games. I know when these events are hosted in Western Canada we find them to be very special.

Also having lived in South Africa, and I think this applies to the other African members of the commonwealth as well - running events are very very popular and garner attention that North Americans would only pay to sports like Football.

I feel a lot of connection with most of the Commonwealth countries, and I really wish we would go further in joining together and putting forward our vision of democratic institutions, civil society, and human rights as a serious alternative to the US model. Most of our countries are peaceful and prosperous, and even the African commonwealth nations are generally in better condition than their non-commonwealth neighbours (this is a broad generalization, not always true).

I think we should also handle Zimbabwe as "our" problem although without South Africa on board that is hard.

Finallly, I saw the Queen on the BBC opening the Welsh parliament and I am convinced the royal family is useless. With all Her Majesty's time and money she could not memorize a speech? I realize she is old, but if she wasn't up to the task maybe Prince Charles would suffice. That display almost made me a republican.
posted by Deep Dish at 3:29 PM on March 15, 2006

I was there. Okay. I admit it. The wife and I flew over from Adelaide, and we're currently staying in North Melbourne. We went to the opening ceremony, and have tickets for Rugby, Netball and Athletics.

We aren't really even that much into sport. We just thought, if we were going to visit Melbourne, we might as well go when something was happening.

Interesting to note how much difficulty they had selling tickets to the opening ceremony. I was always told Melbournians would turn up to the "Opening of an Envelope".

Actually, though, the ceremony wasn't that bad. They kept the inexplicable interpretive dance to a minimum. Musical performers - well two out of three ain't bad, particularly since Delta was mostly hidden by a thick cloud of smoke. I was well impressed with the Church, since I've missed them the last two tours.

I do have to say, that the whole thing seems a bit unfair, with Australia having a team that looks three times the size of any other country. And where the hell did Nauru and Niue find atheletes?
posted by Jimbob at 3:46 PM on March 15, 2006

Oh for fuck's sake, Phil.
posted by tellurian at 4:08 PM on March 15, 2006

So the upshot of this is: (1), Australia is hosting this event; (2), Australian athletes will (as usual) win just about everything and come out with a medal aggregate of 30145 to everybody else's 17; and (3), Australians will complain bitterly about it.

You've got to love the cheek involved.
posted by Sonny Jim at 4:15 PM on March 15, 2006

So, you know you posted the Queen of Canada where you meant to post the Queen of Australia? Just checking :)
posted by jb at 4:35 PM on March 15, 2006

Sonny Jim, I think you've summed up everything anyone needs to know perfectly. Except, perhaps replace "Australians" with "Victorians" in the last clause.
posted by Jimbob at 4:35 PM on March 15, 2006

Sonny Jim, yes, except for the bit about 'cheek'. As someone who's not going to win a medal, I don't care about the medal tally and do care about the pointlessness of it.

But I don't want to overstate anyone's position, no one in this thread has complained bitterly about anything. All in all it's a bit of mild televisual spectacle and some fun, I'm going to the rugby tonight and will tune in for a little bit each day, however the typical jingoistic overblown hype that we'll be subjected to for the next 11 days will get a bit wearing.

Still, we should win just about all the medals.

jb, yes, 'twas ironic.
posted by wilful at 4:50 PM on March 15, 2006

Hey wouldn'tcha know it, my office could have our very own Insignificant Commonwealth Nations minigames... we're all in the Falklands, the accountant grew up in Nauru, and the IT guy is from Saint Helena.

(btw, I am suspicious of Duncan Errol James from the St Helena team. He claims his occupation is "aviation fuel installation," but there's no airport on St Helena.....where's he installing that fuel?)
posted by penguin pie at 12:01 PM on March 16, 2006

OK, Now I'll chime in with the games-are-crap crowd....
posted by pompomtom at 3:48 PM on March 17, 2006

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