The coccyx, pinky toes, ear muscles, the appendix, wisdom teeth and the Commonwealth Games. What do all these things have in common?
They’re completely obsolete. In fact, you could even make a stronger case for some of those vestigial appendages, more than you could for the Commonwealth Games. For example, the appendix was once used for digesting cellulose molecules from all the plant-eating we used to do but through evolution, intestinal bacterial now use it as a safe-house. I could go on but I think you get the point.
Some of our local readers may not even know they’re starting this week, and the international readers may not have even heard of the Commonwealth Games. I’ll describe it to you in the best way I can:
“It’s like a lower quality Olympics but only countries within the British Commonwealth, past and present, are invited to participate.”
I Wiki’d the Commonwealth Games and found these facts:
- The event occurs every 4 years (conveniently slotted in between Olympic Games because they know no one would watch it if the two events clashed).
- It’s the 3rd largest multi-sport event in the world, behind the Olympics and the Asian Games (didn’t know the latter existed).
- Many of the sports played are the same as the ones in the Olympic Games but includes lawn bowls (who cares?) and netball (Netball World Cup is arguably a more prestigious accolade).
- 53 nations within the Commonwealth but there are 71 teams. England, Scotland, Wales – all send separate teams.
So why do we even have these games? I’ve seen and been told numerous times that the Games bring the Commonwealth Nations closer together. Do people genuinely believe that? I mean, what really binds these countries together, if anything at all? What does Australia have in common with Uganda or Brunei or St. Kitts and Nevis? Nothing.
In my opinion, the value of the Commonwealth seems dated. The only positive I see is the opportunity for smaller nations to have their voices heard and recognised but then again, that could easily be done at a larger, internationally recognised event called the Olympics. Surely, you’ve heard of it.
Purely from a sporting standpoint, the event lacks appeal with big names such as Usain Bolt who shunned the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi to focus on the 2012 London Olympics. I don’t blame him. Why would he waste his time or risk injury on an event where the grand prize isn’t the grandest in his sport? In the upcoming Glasgow Commonwealth Games, Bolt is only running in the relay events, not the solo sprints. He’s not the only one who thinks that way, which leads me to my next point.
With the lack of world-class talent, winning a gold medal in the Commonwealth Games is absolutely meaningless, as you’re not competing with the cream of the crop in your respective sport.
Ato Boldon’s 100 metre record in the Commonwealth Games ranks outside the top 22 fastest times ever recorded. From the few examples given in the table above, you can already see that the Commonwealth Games records are quite inferior compared to the Olympics and World records. (Side note: Any international multi-sport competition that leaves out basketball is irrelevant and should cease to exist.)
Achievements in the Commonwealth Games are certainly nothing to brag about. Do countries compete to make themselves feel better? Is it merely practice for the prestigious and higher-calibre events like the Olympics? Australia, a country that has a history of dominating the Commonwealth Games has collected a whopping 804 gold medals (ranks 1st) in the multi-sport event. However, it ranks 11th in total Olympic gold medals with 138. Canada (3rd) and India (4th) in overall Commonwealth Games gold medals, rank 20th and 51st in the Olympic Games overall gold medal tally, respectively. If it’s practice, it’s certainly not helping those countries. You should see Australia’s gold medal tally in the recent Olympics (yikes!).
The amount of money that is spent on the Commonwealth Games is ridiculous as well. Scotland has poured in half a billion pounds (over $750 million dollars) for the event in Glasgow 2014. It’s bizarre that Scotland are spending so much on this when they’re about to vote on whether they stay part of the UK or break away as a totally independent nation. Surely an expensive process as well as one that suggests they’re not entirely committed to the whole ‘Commonwealth’ thing. Maybe it’s just an excuse for the host city to revamp their facilities. I’d hate to think how much my state government is spending on the 2018 Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast since the Federal government is adding $186 million of additional funding.
To conclude, it is simply nonsensical to spend that amount of money on such a low quality event where the world’s best athletes deem it unworthy to compete in. The results are also incredibly lopsided, pointlessly favouring the larger and richer nations, giving them a false sense of achievement. The Commonwealth games are basically just an obsolete remnant of imperialist Britain, and much like wisdom teeth, no one would care if they were removed. Well… maybe 5% of the world’s un-evolved population would notice, as they still have jaws big enough to use them. It’s science.