IS it unAustralian to question the place of the Commonwealth Games?
For the past week our nation has indulged in, at times, unseemly celebration as television commentators have breathlessly hailed our “domination” over such nations as Vanuatu, Dominica and Naura.
While every four years at the Olympics Australia prides itself on punching well above our weight, at the Commonwealth Games we are punching well below.
But that is not to question the dedication or excellence of our Commonwealth Games team. We have seen several world records fall at this meet and that is testament to the quality of our elite competitors.
And the incorporation of para athletes into the Games schedule has also been fantastic. An athlete like our own Kurt Fearnley certainly deserves the chance to perform on the big stage as he did on Tuesday night, rather than racing in front of a half-filled stadium and out of the media spotlight a fortnight later
But the reality is, the Commonwealth Games has not been much more than a contest between a few main nations – particularly Australia and England – for the best part of three decades.
If the Commonwealth exists today in anything more than name alone, then surely the enormous amount of money the larger nations put into the Games might be better spent fostering and building up some of the poor nations that have been competing on the Gold Coast for the past week.
Rather than celebrate our domination, wouldn’t it better for us to be lending financial support to our poorer competitors?
Wealthy nations such as Australia have ample opportunity to show off our sporting prowess at the Olympics and annual world championships. Success at those tournaments truly means something.
And while it’s true that any athletes can only beat those they come up against, the flag-waving nationalism we have seen in much of a media – especially on TV – for the past week has been less than gracious.
At a time when Australia’s “win at all costs” mentality in other sports has been under the spotlight, our success at the Commonwealth Games should be measured in terms of support rather than gold medals.
Congratulations to Australia’s Commonwealth Games team; you have done us and yourselves proud. But you have been let down by the over-the-top cheering from the self-appointed media cheer squads.