From April 4-15, history will be made on the Gold Coast of Australia. The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018) will welcome more than 6,600 athletes and team officials from 71 Commonwealth nations and territories to the Gold Coast and event cities Brisbane, Cairns and Townsville, to share in the celebration of sport, entertainment and culture.
The largest sporting event to be staged in Australia this decade, GC2018 will feature the largest integrated sports program in Commonwealth Games history, comprising 18 sports and seven para-sports. Canada will field a team of 282 athletes, who are expected to win over 100 medals and contribute to a top 3 standing amongst all nations competing.
The Canadian Sport Institute Calgary is proud to support eight athletes and one coach who will represent Canada at these Games:
Damian Warner - Athletics
Nicole Oudenaarden - Athletics
Les Gramantik (coach - Athletics)
Allison Beveridge – Cycling
Brittany Rogers – Gymnastics
Jackson Payne – Gymnastics
Morgan Bird – Para Swimming
Danielle Lappage – Wrestling
Erica Wiebe – Wrestling
Olympic Champion wrestler Erica Wiebe is looking forward to these Games. Coming off a long break in 2017, which she says she needed to get over some nagging injuries and take a mental rest, Wiebe is excited to have a good performance at the Commonwealth Games. “Mentally, I was not there for a while,” she says. “I took a break and now I’m healthy and it feels so good to be back and competing again.”
Looking ahead to Tokyo 2020, where she will be defending her Olympic title, Wiebe says that the Commonwealth Games are one stop of many along the way there in her preparation. She has just completed three weeks of intense World Cup competition and the Commonwealth Games are another notch up. “It’s a major Games,” she says. “And even though the field is not as deep, it’s still a high-pressure competition.”
Important change has also been made in gender equity over the years, with GC2018 set to mark the first time in the history of a major multi-sport Games that there will be an equal number of medal events for men and women.
The Games are also unique in that they feature both able-bodied and Paralympic events. For Para swimmer Morgan Bird, who is attending her second Commonwealth Games, this is important. “It creates the opportunity for us to come together as a whole and be a presence,” she says. “Having both together also creates an opportunity for para athletes to get more coverage and have more people become aware of the Paralympic movement. It’s a very neat experience when all the best athletes in the world gather together and can appreciate one another’s efforts.”
Bird is also passionate about using her voice to encourage others to reach their goals. “I hope to be a role model for future para swimmers possibly watching the Games. If I happen to inspire just one person, that is a victory, because it is a rewarding experience for me, knowing I am helping others out through my swimming career.”
This highlights the fact that Commonwealth Games are more than just about competition – they aim to unite the Commonwealth family through sport. They bring together members of the Commonwealth of nations to compete on a level playing field in a spirit of friendship and fair play, often referred to as the ‘friendly games’.
For the first time in Games' history, a web streaming platform has the rights for the Commonwealth Games. Go to DAZN.com for more information. Access to DAZN and all Games' sport streams will be free of charge as there is no cost for the first month of subscription.
Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
Photo by: Dave Holland @csicalgaryphoto