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

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.

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

"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.

"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.

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

"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.

"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."



'I think she'll bolt' - Germaine Greer paints bleak picture of royal life for Meghan Markle once married to Prince Harry

Australian writer and feminist Germaine Greer has given a bleak view of life for Meghan Markle after she marries Prince Harry on May 20. 

In an interview with 60 Minutes Australia, Ms Greer said she thought the greatest challenge for Meghan Markle will be "just putting up" with life in the royal family.

"She will see vistas of boredom that are unbelievable."

"The royal family are awfully good at divorce, [it's] everywhere, and painful and horrible, but it's nearly always a question of a non-royal running for the hills."

Ms Greer said she wished Prince Harry and Ms Markle "all the best I hope they have a wonderful life together", however she thought Ms Markle would "bolt". 

"I think she'll bolt. I hope in a way that she’ll bolt but maybe she’ll take Harry with her."

She said she hoped the couple would "stay with it for as long as it lasts, why not? But [Markle shouldn't] stay for the bad bit, be prepared to go when it gets bad."


Topics

TODAY'S
FEATURED STORIES

Should the Queen get a Nobel Peace Prize for her brand of 'quiet diplomacy?' Two opposing arguments lined up

Arguments for and against the nomination of Queen Elizabeth II for a Nobel Peace Prize have been laid out by Kiwi pro and anti-Monarchy groups.

Speaking this morning on TVNZ 1's Breakfast, Peter Hamilton of New Zealand Republic and Dr Sean Palmer of Monarchy New Zealand expressed their views on putting the Queen forward for the prestigious accolade.

Dr Palmer said she "contributes in a number of ways" to the advancement of peace by creating an environment - in the Commonwealth - where countries can communicate with each other.

"The sort of quiet diplomacy she has engaged with for a very long time," Dr Palmer said.

"She has been able to build relationships between countries ... she doesn't direct, them she doesn't order - them but she builds an environment where they can communicate with each other."

Mr Hamilton said he doesn't think the potential nomination is a "PR stunt" for the monarchy, but that "the Nobel Peace Prize is the wrong way" for the Queen to be recognised.

The deadline for nominations this year passed on February 1 and there are 329 nominees - the winner will be announced in October.

Peter Hamilton of New Zealand Republic and Dr Sean Palmer of Monarchy New Zealand discuss the issue on Breakfast. Source: Breakfast


Topics