Commonwealth Games fun facts: 18 things you may not know

Athletes from the USA take part in the international multisport event Commonwealth of Nations and territories and attracts top sports stars from around the world, all competing for medals.

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The 2022 Games began on Thursday 28th July 2022 and will run through Monday 8th August.

The games, which are held every four years and are often referred to as “Friendly Games”, are being played for the third time England.

But do you know why they are called “Friendlies”? Or which six countries have been to each of the Games in the 92-year history of the events?

Here are the answers to those questions and more fun facts about the games.

Cast members gather during the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay on July 28, 2022 in Birmingham, England. The Queen’s Baton Relay tours England for 25 days celebrating sport, culture and communities during the final countdown to the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

Why are the Commonwealth Games known as the “Friendly Games”?

The games are also known as “friendly matches” because all events up until 1998 were individual competitions and not played in teams.

The 1998 games then saw the addition of team games including netball, cricket, hockey and rugby 7s.

Which six countries have participated in all Commonwealth Games?

A total of 72 countries are eligible to participate in the games.

However, only six of the eligible countries took part in each of the games.

  • England
  • Scotland
  • Wales
  • New Zealand
  • Australia
  • Canada

Of those six countries, only four have won at least one gold medal in each game.

  • England
  • New Zealand
  • Australia
  • Canada

What are fun facts about the 2022 Commonwealth Games?

  • More than 5,000 athletes from 72 countries are expected.
  • There will be 283 different medal events in a variety of disciplines including track and field events, weightlifting and martial arts such as boxing and judo.
  • For the first time, there are more women’s than men’s events at a global multisport event.
  • The 2022 Games is expected to have the most events for women and disabled athletes in the history of the event.
  • 2022 will be the first games to include esports, but this will be as a limited pilot with separate branding and medals.
  • The 2022 Games will be the most expensive sporting event in the UK since the London Olympics in 2012, with a projected cost of £778m. The Olympic Games cost £8.8 billion.
  • The 2022 Commonwealth Games will be staged at 15 venues in and around Birmingham, including a new £73m aquatic center in Sandwell.
  • Over the past two years, £72m has been spent to modernize and improve the city’s flagship Alexander Stadium, which will host the popular athletics event.
  • Around 13,000 volunteers ensure that the games run smoothly
  • Around 3,000 police officers will secure the games, including 1,000 from West Midlands Police and 2,000 from other UK forces.
  • More than a million people are expected to attend the games.

What are even funnier facts about the history of the Commonwealth Games?

  • The oldest person to have competed in the Games was 79-year-old Canadian shooter Robert Pitcairn, who started in 2018.
  • The youngest person to take part in the Games was Anna Hursey, who was 11 in 2018 when she represented Wales in doubles table tennis.
  • The Official Patron of the Commonwealth Games is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
  • The first Commonwealth Games, then known as the British Empire Games, were first held in 1930.
  • The Games have been held every four years since 1930, with the exception of 1942 and 1946, making the 2022 Games the 22nd.

How can I watch the Commonwealth Games 2022?

If you can’t get a ticket to the games or are unable to travel to Birmingham, you can watch full coverage of the Commonwealth Games 2022 on BBC channels and BBC iPlayer.