What Are the Commonwealth Games:
Who competes? Officially it is all the nations and territories of the Commonwealth of Nations, also known as the Commonwealth. Next question - What is the Commonwealth of Nations? Without going into great detail, it is a group of independent states, territories and dependencies that were formally members of the British Empire.
As of 2010 there were currently 53 nations that are considered members of the Commonwealth, and from those 53 nations 71 teams participated at the most recent version of Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India.
More Teams Than Nations:
So how can you have 53 nations and 71 teams? This occurs because many of the nations have dependencies and territories that are allowed to send independent teams, whereas for the Olympics they would compete as one body.
An example would be an athlete competing for the Isle of Man in the Commonwealth Games would compete for Great Britain at the Olympic Games or European Championships.
In 2010 in New Delhi, the Commonwealth Games featured 4,352 athletes competing in 17 sports for 71 teams.
The Commonwealth Games are overseen by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), who is directly responsible for the direction and control of the games. The organization is similar to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) or the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA).
In addition to many of the well known Olympic sports such as swimming and athletics (track and field), the Commonwealth Games also includes sports that have been historically associated with the traditional British Commonwealth such as cricket, lawn bowling, netball, rugby, and squash.
Choosing The Competition:
Unlike other multi-sport competitions, the Commonwealth Games host has a hand in choosing what sports will be included in their program. Each host must include a set of 10 “core” sports: Swimming, Athletics, Badminton, Boxing (men), Hockey, Lawn Bowls, Netball (women), Rugby 7’s (men only), Squash and Weightlifting.
The host may then include seven additional sports chosen from a list of over 20 that have been approved by the CGF.
Diving at the Commonwealth Games:
Although considered an “optional” sport by the CGF, diving has been contested at every version of the Commonwealth Games since it’s inception in 1930. With its close ties to swimming and the facilities they generally share, diving looks to be part of the program for the foreseeable future.
Since 1930, of the 22 Olympics medalists from Commonwealth countries, only one has failed to win a medal in the Commonwealth Games: Rebecca Gilmore won an Olympic bronze in synchronized platform in 2000, but at the time synchronized diving was not an event on the Commonwealth Games diving program.
Australia and Canada have been the dominant diving teams over the past 15 years, producing multiple Olympic medalists, highlighted by gold medals on platform by Chantelle Newbery in 2004 and Matthew Mitcham in 2008.
In recent years Malaysia has made a successful push to become competitive in diving, winning six medals since 2006 including a gold on platform by Pandelela Rinong Pamg in 2010.
Commonwealth Games by Year and Site:
- 1930 – Hamilton, Canada
- 1934 – London, England
- 1938 – Sydney, Australia
- 1950 – Aukland, New Zealand
- 1954 – Vancouver, Canada
- 1958 – Cardiff, Wales
- 1962 – Perth, Australia
- 1966 – Kingston, Jamaica
- 1970 – Edinburgh, Scotland
- 1974 – Christchurch, New Zealand
- 1978 – Edmonton, Canada
- 1982 – Brisbane, Australia
- 1986 – Edinburgh, Scotland
- 1990 – Auckland, New Zealand
- 1994 – Victoria, Canada
- 1998 – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- 2002 – Manchester, England
- 2006 – Melbourne, Australia
- 2010 – Delhi, India
- 2014 - Glasgow, Scotland