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The Empire Games Fail To Strike Back

By Rupert Truscott-Hughes on September 24, 2014 in Other



Apparently the Commonwealth Games was held recently in that sporting mecca they call Glasgow, a city that proudly boasts the honour of having the worst life expectancy in the United Kingdom. I say ‘apparently’ because I had absolutely no idea that this second rate sporting ‘spectacle’ was even taking place, such is the prestige of the event.

Obviously it’s not solely the host city that made the recent Commonwealth Games so forgettable, and given that Glasgow was competing Abuja in Nigeria for the honour of hosting the event, things probably could’ve been far worse. I’m lead to believe that Australia also hosted the Games only eight years ago. It must have been a real hoot too because I haven’t got the slightest recollection of it even happening. Tell me, did the good folk of Melbourne get around in their volunteers’ jackets months after the event had concluded?

I’ve recently learned that good old Network Ten had the rights to the Comm Games this time around, so that goes some way to explaining why no one was talking about it. I don’t think I’ve switched over to that channel since my live-in cook took part in the first series of Masterchef. Needless to say, she’s back working for me now, so the fame was short-lived and the fortune clearly not forthcoming, and until she creates the perfect ‘snow egg’ for me, she won’t be seeing a pay rise.

This still doesn’t get to the real crux of the problem with the Commonwealth Games though. Even if the coverage was half decent, I don’t think it would draw too many viewers. I think it has more to do with what we, the general public, expect from a big sporting event these days. Firstly, and probably most importantly, we want to know who is the best of the best, not the best of the rest. Without the Ruskis, the Yanks and the Chinese in attendance, you might as well be watching a high school sports carnival.

Even the athletes don’t seem to give a stuff about the Commonwealth Games. The cyclists had only just dismounted after the Tour de France, so it’s hardly surprising that they were less than enthusiastic, and while Usain Bolt actually decided to show up this time around, he only contested a relay. Furthermore, when Michael Diamond lost his bronze medal match (which he had the chance to win with his final shot) he seemed largely unfazed. The crowd certainly breathed a large sigh of relief knowing that the last thing you want is an angry westy with a shotgun in his hands.

The only slither of excitement of the Commonwealth Games is the battle between us and the Poms to top the medal count, and apart from the Englishmen in question, no one really gives a hoot about that either.

To sum things up, you know the Commonweath Games is really struggling when the biggest story to come out of the fortnight of competition (and the first I personally heard about the games) is when a good-looking blonde Aussie athlete crashes the stage during the closing ceremony. If she wasn’t such a good sort I’d hazard a guess that this probably wouldn’t have made the news either.