The Commonwealth Games

The story of the Commonwealth Games is one of values and evolution. It is a cultural and social celebration of the two billion people who make  up a third of the global population — and the diverse races, languages, beliefs, cultures, traditions and perspectives that make up this mass of humanity. This is also reflected in the balanced structure and organisation of the Games.

The Games are considered to have three key values: humanity, quality and destiny. These help the Games to symbolise the coming together of the diverse group of nations in a central setting — as fellow human beings. These values are echoed in the Athlete’s Oath, which is taken on behalf of all the competitors at the Opening Ceremony of the Games. The oath goes: ‘We declare that we will take part in the Commonwealth Games of (insert year) in the spirit of true sportsmanship, recognising the rules which govern them and desirous of participating in them for the honour of our Commonwealth and for the glory of sport’.

The Commonwealth Games have evolved over time much like the Commonwealth of Nations it represents. From its inception in 1930 as the British Empire Games, it has mirrored the changing orientation of the greater organisation. It was known by this name until 1950, then from 1954 to 1966 it was the British Empire and Commonwealth Games, 1970 to 1974 as the British Commonwealth Games, and from 1978 it finally became known by its present name.

In terms of participants the Games are also significant. In addition to the 54 members of the Commonwealth, 17 overseas territories, island states and crown dependencies take part in their own capacity. These include the Home Nations of the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands, and places such as Bermuda, Montserrat and the British Virgin Islands. These countries/states are able to express themselves through sport, where politically they maybe unable to do so.

Each Games has to include a minimum of 10 core sports on their timetable, which include: Athletics, Badminton, Boxing (Men only), Lawn Bowls, Netball (Women only), Rugby 7s (Men only), Aquatics-Swimming, Hockey, Squash and Weightlifting. On top of this they can include an additional seven sports out of: Archery, Aquatics-Diving, Aquatics-Synchronised Swimming, Gymnastics-Artistic, Gymnastic-Rhythmic, Judo, Rowing, Sailing, Shooting-Clay Target, Basketball, Canoeing, Cycling-Road, Cycling-Mountain Bike, Cycling-Track, Shooting-Pistol, Shooting-Small Bore, Shooting-Full Bore, Softball, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Tennis, Tenpin Bowling, Triathlon and Wrestling. It should also be noted that  a maximum of four team sports must also be included (which have been included, to varying degrees, since 1998).

Host Countries:

  • 1930: Hamilton, Canada
  • 1934: London, England, UK
  • 1938: Sydney, Australia
  • 1950: Auckland, New Zealand
  • 1954: Vancouver, Canada
  • 1958: Cardiff, Wales, UK
  • 1962: Perth, Australia
  • 1966: Kingston, Jamaica
  • 1970: Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
  • 1974: Christchurch, New Zealand
  • 1978: Edmonton, Canada
  • 1982: Brisbane, Australia
  • 1986: Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
  • 1990: Auckland, New Zealand
  • 1994: Victoria, Australia
  • 1998: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • 2002: Manchester, England, UK
  • 2006: Melbourne, Australia
  • 2010: Delhi, India
  • 2014: Glasgow, Scotland, UK
  • 2018: Gold Coast, Australia

Table of most successful nations at the Commonwealth Games

(Correct as of the end of the 2010 Delhi Games)

  1. Australia
  2. England
  3. Canada
  4. India
  5. New Zealand
  6. South Africa
  7. Scotland
  8. Kenya
  9. Wales
  10. Nigeria
  11. Malaysia
  12. Jamaica
  13. Northern Ireland
  14. Pakistan
  15. Singapore
  16. Ghana
  17. Cyprus
  18. Uganda
  19. Nauru
  20. Bahamas
  21. Cameroon
  22. Trinidad and Tobago
  23. Zimbabwe (includes all medals won as Southern Rhodesia, Rhodesia, and Rhodesia and Nyasaland)
  24. Tanzania
  25. Sri Lanka (includes all medals won as British Ceylon, and the Dominion of Ceylon)
  26. Hong Kong
  27. Zambia (includes all medals won as Northern Rhodesia)
  28. Guyana
  29. Namibia
  30. Fiji
  31. Samoa
  32. Isle of Man
  33. Papua New Guinea
  34. Barbados
  35. Malaya
  36. Bangladesh
  37. Mozambique
  38. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  39. Mauritius
  40. Botswana
  41. Guernsey
  42. Bermuda
  43. Lesotho
  44. Jersey
  45. Cayman Islands
  46. Saint Kitts and Nevis
  47. Seychelles
  48. Malta
  49. Swaziland
  50. Rhodesia
  51. Grenada
  52. Malawi
  53. Tonga
  54. Saint Lucia
  55. The Gambia
  56. Norfolk Island