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Commonwealth Games - The Friendly Games

Updated on June 4, 2011

The Commonwealth Games are a sporting event similar to the Olympic Games that feature athletes from the 54 countries of the Commonwealth of Nations. The Commonwealth of Nations includes such countries as England, Canada, Australia, India, and South Africa. The games grow in popularity with each passing event; in 1930 there were 400 athletes who competed and 11 countries participated, in 2006 4049 athletes competed and 71 countries participated.

The Commonwealth Games feature some of the same sports as The Olympic Games such as swimming and track and field; they also feature such sports as lawn bowling, rugby and netball (very similar to basketball.) There are also seven sports for the disabled to compete in such as track and field, swimming, and table tennis. The games are under regulated by the Commonwealth Games Federation which decides on which sports will be included and where the games will be held.

The Friendly Games

The Commonwealth Games are sometimes called the “friendly games” and, unlike the Olympic Games, the para-games or games for the disabled take place at the same time and in the same venues as the other sports.

The first Commonwealth Games were held in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada in 1930. The games have been held every four years since, with the exception of 1942 and 1946 when the games were cancelled due to World War II. The Commonwealth Games have gone through several name changes; the games first started out being called the British Empire Games, in 1954 they were called the British Empire and Commonwealth Games, in 1970 the name was changed to the British Commonwealth Games, and the current name has been used since 1978.

The Empire Regroups

Currently, 71 teams take part in the Commonwealth Games. The United Kingdom sends teams from England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Guernsey, Jersey, the Isle of Man, and other British territories.

Similar to the Olympic Games Torch Relay, the baton is carried from Buckingham Palace to the opening ceremonies of the Commonwealth Games in a run known as the Queen’s Baton Relay. Those who take part in the relay are all athletes.

Commonwealth Games Host Cities

  • 1930 Hamilton, ON, Canada
  • 1934 London, England
  • 1938 Sydney, Australia
  • 1950 Auckland, New Zealand
  • 1954 Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • 1958 Cardiff, Wales
  • 1962 Perth, Australia
  • 1966 Kingston, Jamaica
  • 1970 Edinburgh, Scotland
  • 1974 Christchurch, New Zealand
  • 1978 Edmonton, Alta, Canada
  • 1982 Brisbane, Australia
  • 1986 Edinburgh, Scotland
  • 1990 Auckland, New Zealand
  • 1994 Victoria, BC, Canada
  • 1998 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • 2002 Manchester, England
  • 2006 Melbourne, Australia
  • 2010 Delhi, India

Approved Core Sports

There are core sports of the Commonwealth Games, there are also optional sports and recognised sports that may also be played during the games. It is up to the host country which extra sports will be competed in during the games.

  • Athletics (Track and Field)
  • Badminton
  • Netball
  • Rugby Sevens
  • Boxing
  • Field hockey
  • Lawn bowls
  • Squash
  • Swimming
  • Weightlifting


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  • katiem2 profile image

    katiem2 7 years ago from I'm outta here

    Great info on Commonwealth Games - The Friendly Games, gotta love these games and the great spirit involved. :)

  • Wendy Krick profile image

    Wendy Krick 7 years ago from Maryland

    Very interesting hub. Thanks for sharing.

  • mysterylady 89 profile image

    mysterylady 89 7 years ago from Florida

    I feel so ignorant that I don't remember ever hearing about these games. Thanks for an interesting hub!