empty swimming pool from underway along the lanes

Facts about the Commonwealth Games

I love big sporting tournaments, even watching the sports I don’t know much about. I missed out on the chance to volunteer at the Manchester games through my old work because I started a month too late. And this time I’ve not got round to buying tickets – a bit of a mistake given it’s only a short distance from us in Birmingham. But what are the Commonwealth Games about, and what are all the interesting facts about the games.

Find out more about Olympic Games sports

facts about the commonwealth games

The history of the Commonwealth Games

Has it always been called the Commonwealth Games?

Over the years the name has changed.

  • British Empire Games (from 1930 to 1950)
  • British Empire and Commonwealth Games (from 1954 to 1966)
  • British Commonwealth Games (from 1970 to 1974)
  • Commonwealth Games (since 1978)

It’s often referred to as the Friendly Games.

When did the Commonwealth Games start?

The first official games was held in Hamilton Canada in 1930, and named the British Empire Games. The Commonwealth Games have been held every 4 years since the start, except for 1942 and 1946 due to World War II.

Which countries have hosted the Games?

  • Australia
    • Sydney 1938
    • Perth 1962
    • Brisbane 1982
    • Melbourne 2006
    • Gold Coast 2018
    • Victoria regions 2026
  • Canada
    • Hamilton 1930
    • Vancouver 1954
    • Edmonton 1978
    • Victoria 1994
    • Hamilton 2030 tbc
  • England
    • London 1934
    • Manchester 2002
    • Birmingham 2022
  • New Zealand
    • Auckland 1950
    • Christchurch 1974
    • Auckland 1990
  • Scotland
    • Edinburgh 1970
    • Edinburgh 1986
    • Glasgow 2014
  • Wales
    • Cardiff 1958
  • Jamaica
    • Kingston 1966
  • Malaysia
    • Kuala Lumpa 1998
  • India
    • Delhi 2010

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games facts

  • Birmingham will be the 22nd games (apt for 2022!).
  • The Birmingham Games 2022 will be held from 28th July to 8th August.
  • They’re aiming to be the first carbon neutral games (thanks to free public transport, planting 2022 acres of trees and sending zero waste to landfill.
  • 22,000 people applied to volunteer at the Games, 13,000 were chosen to help out.
  • For the first time in a global multisport event, there will be more women’s medals won than men’s, across 283 medal events.
  • The 2022 Games mascot will be Perry the Bull.

Commonwealth Games sports

Each Commonwealth Games currently includes a total of 22 sports, with three multi-disciplinary sports and a further seven Para-sports which are approved by the CGF.

There are 10 core sports that the host needs to include:

  • Aquatics (swimming)
  • Athletics
  • Badminton
  • Boxing (men, with an option to add women’s events)
  • Hockey
  • Lawn Bowls
  • Netball (women)
  • Rugby 7s (men, with an option to add women’s sevens)
  • Squash
  • Weightlifting

A further number of up to 7 events can be chosen by the host from a set list: Archery, basketball, gymnastics, rowing, softball, cycling and table tennis.

Para-sports have to now be included, with 4 mandatory events, and they can choose to include another (up to) 3.

empty swimming pool from underway along the lanes

Which countries compete?

Back in 1930, the first games had 11 countries, 400 athletes and 59 sports events across 6 sports.

72 nations and territories are eligible to compete now. Territories which cannot compete at the Olympics are involved, such as Norfolk Island and St Helena.

There have only been 6 countries who’ve competed in all the games since 1930: Australia, Canada, England, New Zealand, Scotland and Wales.

Interesting facts about the Commonwealth Games

In the all time medal table, Australia are in first place, England in second, and Canada in third.

The 1998 Games included team sports for the first time. Prior to that, all events were for single sports people.

The Games is the 3rd biggest competitive sporting event after the Olympics and the Asian Games, in terms of numbers of athletes taking part.

There is also the Commonwealth Youth Games for athletes age 14-18.

The Commonwealth Games have always been about inclusivity. Much of the activity within the Commonwealth Movement is aimed at addressing social issues. Initiatives include focusing on the empowerment of women and girls, gender equity, youth leadership development and HIV and AIDS awareness.

I’ll be watching when the event is on. What sports will you be watching?

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  1. This was really interesting. I did not know a thing about the commonwealth games. This post gave me a clear idea of so many things.

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