Comm Games chair admits 'we got that wrong' after many athletes leave 'disappointing' closing ceremony early

share

Source:

1 NEWS

Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Chair Peter Beattie has taken fierce criticism of last night's Closing Ceremony on the chin, saying "we got that wrong" after many said they were disappointed to see very little of the athletes themselves at the event while enduring numerous long speeches.

Broadcasters from Australia's Channel 7 were outspoken about the event, which featured numerous musical performances from the likes of Guy Sebastian, Dami Inn, The Veronicas, Amy Shark and Yothu Yindi - and even a cameo from Usain Bolt.

Johanna Griggs and Basil Zempilas of Channel 7 - the right's holder - apologised to fans, saying it was not their fault that athletes didn't feature in the coverage - it was just that there were none to feature.

"They made the decision not to have the athletes enter the stadium, they made the decision not to show the flag bearers and I'm furious," Griggs said.

"They're actually wrecking a tradition which is so important and a part of Commonwealth Games - you want to see the athletes come in you want to see them jumping in front of a camera, you want to see them celebrating eleven days of great sport.

Bolt made an energetic appearance during the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony in the Gold Coast.
Source: TVNZ | Commonwealth Games

"We missed out on all of that, and I'll tell you ... there's no athletes in here and I've never seen a stadium so empty half way through a ceremony."

Zempilas agreed, saying "Unfortunately tonight, the hosts, the organising committee, together with the host broadcasters, just didn't get it right".

"It was a mistake not to include the athletes coming out into the stadium ... so we were not able to bring you any pictures because we did not have any pictures available to us ... it's a disappointing conclusion.

"You're disappointed, we're disappointed ... we've never seen a stadium as empty as this so soon after the conclusion of the Closing Ceremony.

The 21-year-old weightlifter won the David Dixon Award for his sportsmanship during the Games.
Source: TVNZ | Commonwealth Games

"To be brutally honest, most of the athletes left during the ceremony.

"And the speeches - look, we understand the dignitaries need to get their messages out there ... but they were way too long tonight, way too long and, dare I say it, a little self-indulgent".

The pair went on to say the disappointment shouldn't overshadow what has been an exceptional performance at the Games by Australia.

Mr Beattie has this morning responded to criticism, acknowledging it and saying he was only aiming to keep the athletes comfortable.

"We wanted athletes to be part of and enjoy the Closing Ceremony ... however, having them come in to the stadium in the pre-show meant the TV audience were not able to see the athletes enter the stadium, alongside flag bearers - we got that wrong," he tweeted.

"This decision to bring the athletes into the stadium before the broadcast was operationally driven given there were restrictions on being able to keep the athletes waiting in comfort ... we were driven by the welfare of athletes.

"The speeches were too many and too long ... I was part of that and I acknowledge it ... again, we got that wrong ... I should not have spoken."

Commonwealth Games Minister Kate Jones told news.com.au that she was disappointed that athletes were not at the forefront of the ceremony, saying "we expected the athletes would be the focus as is the tradition at closing ceremonies".

"I share the feeling of Australia," Ms Jones said.

"It should have been a celebration of the athletes."

loading error

refresh