Queen Elizabeth opened the eleventh Commonwealth Games in Edmonton, Alberta on Thursday (3 August). 42,000 people watched the opening ceremony as athletes from 46 teams paraded through the stadium.
Queen Elizabeth opened the eleventh Commonwealth Games in Edmonton, Alberta on Thursday (3 August). 42,000 people watched the opening ceremony as athletes from 46 teams paraded through the stadium. It is the largest number of countries ever to send teams to the Games.
SYNOPSIS: The impressive new facilities built for the games were shown to their best advantage in the bright sunshine. The oil-rich province of Alberta and the city of Edmonton had spent thirty-six million dollars (eighteen million pounds) on the stadium, swimming complex and other venues.
The Queen, Prince Philip and Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau joined the crowd in their enthusiastic appreciation of a dancing display by young people of Alberta.
The organisers of the Games had every reason to applaud themselves: with memories of the hold-ups and scandals of the Montreal Olympics still fresh in many Canadian minds, the planning and building in Edmonton went off without a hitch. The project was finished ahead of schedule and under budget. Also in contrast to the Olympic Games two years ago, these Games have an almost full compliment of African contestants.
The Nigerian team has stayed away in protest at New Zealand's sporting links with South Africa, but their call for an African boycott of the Games was ignored by most countries. Uganda is not represented and some of the smaller Commonwealth countries were unable to raise the money necessary to send team.
The Canadian team received the biggest cheer from the crowd... they were one of the larger contingents. The second biggest round of applause was for the smallest team at the Games: just one man, a boxer representing the Cook Islands.
During her opening address, the Queen stressed the role of the Games and the Commonwealth in leading to a greater understanding between nations.
With the formalities over the Games flag was raised and as thousands of balloons were released the more than two thousand athletes prepared for their ten days of competition which, for the first time, will include gymnastics among the usual Commonwealth Games sports.