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Facts about the Commonwealth Games

Sporting events and medals at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Sporting events and medals at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

The Commonwealth Games are on again! Sometimes called the “British Empire Games” or the “British Commonwealth Games,” this international multi-sport event is open to athletes who hail from the Commonwealth Nations (countries that were once controlled by England). Although countries like the United States of America and the Republic of Ireland refuse to partake in the games, there are over four dozen nations that do attend. The Commonwealth Games are a kind of mini-Olympics and there are many different kinds of sports (track, shooting, weight lifting, etc.) are played over a three week period. Today, mostly all of the events can be found online and many are televised.

The sun sets over the Athletic Events at Hampden Park during the Commonwealth games on July 28, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images

The Commonwealth Games started in 1930 and they have taken place every four years since then (except for 1942 and 1946 due to the war). They are the third largest multi-sport event in the world behind the Asian Games and, of course, the Olympic Games. The games are looked over by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) and there is inclusion of somewhat unusual events like lawn bowls and netball (which are more traditional to lawn games than actual sports).

There are 53 members of the Commonwealth of Nations but up to 71 teams can participate in the games due to the “dependent territory” rule. Since some countries—especially ones in Africa—have broken and formed into different nations since the end of English rule, all of these emerging nations have the right to attend the Commonwealth Games under their current flags. Additionally, there are four “Home Nations” at the Commonwealth games which are the four territories that make up the United Kingdom: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. All of these four territories send separate teams, despite the fact that all of them fall under the umbrella of being in the “U.K.” Overall, Australia has won more trophies than any other team in the Commonwealth Games.

The 2014 Commonwealth Games are currently being held in Glasgow, Scotland. If you are interested in sports then these games are certainly worth taking a look at. The official website has complete information:

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