The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games begin tomorrow in Scotland (23 July- 3 August) and world-class swimmers from across the world are poised to battle it out for glory in the pool. But who competes at the Commonwealth Games, and what makes the event so special for so many athletes?
If you’re not sure what all the fuss about, then this essential guide will tell you the 10 things you need to know about the Commonwealth Games and Glasgow 2014…
The Commonwealth Games (CWG) is an international, multi-sport event, held every four years for athletes from the Commonwealth Nations. These nations are the United Kingdom and states that were previously part of the British Empire.
This year they take place in Glasgow, Scotland. It will be the third time Scotland will play host, having hosted in 1970 and 1986. The swimming will be at Tollcross International Swimming Centre and the Athletes Village is the size of 54 soccer pitches.
The underlying values of the Commonwealth Games are humanity, equality, destiny. They are designed to inspire and unite the Commonwealth nations.
The CWG is a rare occasion where British athletes can represent their home nations (e.g. England, Scotland, Wales) on an international level, much like representing your state if you were American. It’s a huge privilege for competitors.
The first CWG was in Hamilton, Canada in 1930 and 400 athletes represented 11 countries in 6 sports. In 2014, 4,250 athletes will represent 71 nations and territories in 22 sports, and an almighty 390,000 meals are up for grabs.
It wasn’t always called the Commonwealth Games. It has been called the British Empire Games, the British Empire and Commonwealth Games, the British Commonwealth Games, before adopting its current name in 1978.
For many athletes, the Commonwealth Games will be the culmination of four years hard work and will be a very special career highlight, much like the Olympic Games.
Much like the Olympic Torch Relay, there is the Queen’s Baton Relay. It travels 190,000km to visit all 70 nations of the Commonwealth before touring the host nation just before the Games. The Scotland leg will see 4000 baton bearers travel 4000km through 400 towns and cities in 40 days. Today is the final day of the relay ahead of the starting ceremony.
You can expect to see huge sporting stars compete, and not just from the world of swimming compete. Usain Bolt will be competing, while in the pool ones to watch include Glasgow born Olympic silver medalist Michael Jamieson, along with a strong Australian team featuring Alicia Coutts, James Magnussen, Christian Sprenger and Lorna Tonks, to name a few.
Glasgow 2014 will also have the highest number of para-sport medals in Commonwealth history. Uniquely, para-events are staged concurrently throughout the Games.
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Swimming News courtesy of blueseventy, a SwimSwam partner.