The first Commonwealth Games were held in 1930 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Bobby Robinson, a major influence within athletics in Canada at the time, finally implemented the event that had been talked about amongst Commonwealth nations for over thirty years. Eleven countries with 400 athletes in total participated in the first Commonwealth Games. $30,000 was provided by the City of Hamilton to these nations to help cover travelling costs. Since then, the Games have been conducted every four years except for 1942 and 1946, due to World War II.
From 1930 to 1950 the Games were known as the British Empire Games, then the British Empire and Commonwealth Games until 1962. From 1966 to 1974 they took on the title of British Commonwealth Games and from 1978 onwards they have been known as simply the Commonwealth Games.
The Friendly Games
While other Games around the globe have been founded on geographic or climatic factors such as the Asian, Pan Am, African Games and Winter Olympics, the Commonwealth Games has been founded on history. Unique characteristics of the Commonwealth Games include being the only Games which shares a common language. All athletes and officials can converse with each other in English, creating an atmosphere that has led to the Commonwealth Games being long known as the “Friendly Games”.
In an effort to keep the Games vibrant and relevant, the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) allowed Kuala Lumpur in 1998 to include team sports for the first time, a decision which proved an outstanding success.
Inspiration and entertainment
The bonds of the Commonwealth Games help to encourage and support the pursuit of health and fitness in each of the member countries and provide an inspiration for youth to strive for excellence.
Every four years, the 72 nations and dependencies of the Commonwealth gather to enjoy the friendship, entertainment and sporting performances that make the Commonwealth Games the most tangible mortar that binds together this unique family of nations.