Commonwealth Games Underwhelms

To say the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games underwhelmed would be an understatement.

Many Australians would be surprised to find that the event was actually the largest games ever with 17 sports, 285 events and 72 competing nations.

They were also the most expensive games of all time costing the capital more than $1.6 billion.

But did anybody really care?

Empty stadium after empty stadium splashed across our television screens nightly.

Spectators at some sports were so sparse that attending journalists were able to conduct a head count of the so-called crowd.

Seemingly, the only witnesses of the men and women’s road cycling were soldiers who severely lacked the colour and fan fare commonly seen at such events.

Those watching the ever popular swimming program from home were given frequent crowd updates from commentators that were often along the lines of, “We’re almost half full tonight.”

Television coverage, however, was the most comprehensive ever with viewers able to tune in to the games on two free to air channels from Network Ten for the first time.

Despite the increased exposure the public tuned out with ratings attracting only half the average of the Melbourne games.

This left Ten faced with demands to compensate major advertisers after it was rumoured to have spent $30 million acquiring the event in a partnership with Foxtel.

The pay-TV provider’s coverage was a shining light though and it showed with an increase of 1.9 per cent in prime time audience.

Subscribers were given six free channels, or 12 if you include the high definition channels, which were purely dedicated to the games.

While Ten and ONE would cut to commercial breaks during live events and show some sports on delay Foxtel provided a quality viewing service.

Commentators were well versed and featured a number of ex-athletes that provided special comments, interviews with competitors from different countries were common, and coverage was ad free.

In terms of the entertainment the sport we saw was dour, often predictable, and well below international standards.

You would think the athletics program, for example, would be compelling and compulsory viewing for sport fanatics.

The Caribbean is choc-full of the world’s best runners from Usain Bolt to Shelly-Ann Fraser and Asafa Powell.

Instead of star-studded starting line ups the blocks were often filled with reserves.

The women’s 100m dash was a farce following the delayed disqualification of false starter Sally Pearson and the positive drug test of second place Nigerian Oludamola Osayomi.

The eventual gold medallist Natasha Mayers, of St. Vincent and Grenadines, claimed her medallion with the slowest time, 11.37s, since 1970.

Once again Australia dominated across the board and finished 36 gold medals clear of our nearest competitor, India.

While it’s hard to argue against such success competition in some sports was virtually non-existent.

Steve Hooker won the men’s pole vault event in only two jumps with the winning leap of 5.60 metres well below his best of 6.06m.

The 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games will go down in history as one of the most uninspiring and uninteresting games ever.

That is if anyone remembers them.

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