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It seems quite a number of islanders got to the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

If you did, we hoped you enjoyed them.

We know we did!

The Friendly Bay Islander was fortunate to have won tickets in the ballot for the opening ceremony and we were able to attend on two other days at the main stadium for the athletic events.

We wanted to be there for a reason.

Way back in 1982 we were also fortunate to be in the stands for the opening ceremony for the Brisbane Games where Matilda famously ‘winked’ to the packed stadium.

Both opening ceremonies had one aspect in common.

The weather was ‘difficult’ to say the least.

At the QE11 stadium in August 1982, high winds were the culprit and we were amazed our six-week-old son weathered the storm with hardly a murmur.

At the Carrera stadium opening ceremony it was the rain that was the problem.

It was quite fortuitous that a heavy downpour stopped literally one second before the countdown to the opening began.

This was a highlight for any islanders who were watching.

The designer of the Games’ medals, Delvene Cockatoo-Collins played a major part.

In the lead-up to the countdown from 60,000 years of aboriginal heritage, a clever tableau involved a young girl next to Delvene holding up a mobile phone with the dates flashing down to the final 10 seconds when the crowd joined in the countdown.

The young lass holding the phone was Delvene’s niece, Isabella Graham from North Stradbroke Island. What fun!

There has been much written and commented on re the opening and closing ceremonies, but many forgot (including the organisers) that it should have been about the athletes and the events.

Politics seemed to get in the way.

The crowd got right behind the athletes when they entered the stadium at the opening ceremony, and it was a great sight.

They were nowhere to be seen (on TV at least) at the closing ceremony!

Clearly the organisers were fearful of crowds and management and succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. We were able to get parking within 300 metres of the stadium.

The Gold Coast locals stayed away in droves and never has it been easier to drive down the M3.

What kept the momentum up was the success of the Australian athletes. They dominated across many events, which augers well for the future of sport in this country.

Their performances, particularly from the swimmers, will be a huge influence on future generations encouraging sport and activity.

Crowds were near capacity for most events and three appearances at the main stadium for two sessions of athletics was good to see. The Carrara stadium was great for the event and looked fantastic in an athletics format.

Highlights included capacity crowds at nearly all events giving as much applause to those who did not win medals, as to those who did.

Certainly some mistakes were made, but that was always going to happen.

The volunteers were terrific and the amiable mood of the crowds everywhere was similar to the Sydney Olympics.

The immediate benefits came to the accommodation industry via visitors staying far and wide. Some even had accommodation here on our islands!

One downer, personally to the FBI, was when one driver decided to stop on the Smith Street motor way to check out the athletes’ village when two vehicles attached to the FBI pulled up quickly but safely behind him. The next driver didn’t, ploughing into the rear of our vehicle!

All that aside, the real bonus for the Gold Coast were those spectacular night images that were beamed out across the world.

• Our pictures from the stands at the main stadium events.




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