GC2018 is providing a blueprint for other cities around the world to realise that hosting the Commonwealth Games is not only a viable option but a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to shape their city and community
Mark PetersMark Peters serves as Chief Executive Officer of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation. His senior sporting administration roles include almost 10 years as CEO of the Australian Sports Commission.
What distinguishes the Commonwealth Games from other major international multi-sport events is its clear understanding of where it sits in the global sporting landscape.
Currently, GDP growth in the Commonwealth is more than twice that of USA and the Eurozone and now more than ever the Commonwealth as a group of countries has renewed importance in the global landscape. With the onset of Brexit and the backdrop of seemingly constant international political change, the Commonwealth Games has become an important forum for some of the world’s oldest and fastest growing economies to forge lasting partnerships through the power of sport.
The trade and investment and arts and culture programmes attached to the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games are as significant as the sporting competition that will attract the best Commonwealth athletes from 4-15 April 2018. With the Commonwealth including a number of members in the G20, there is genuine prosperity for the Commonwealth’s longevity and influence in key industries and across the sporting landscape.
And while the influential and emerging countries of the Commonwealth will dominate many of these discussions it’s the smaller nations and territories that will be provided with the greatest opportunities - a level playing field to build partnerships that may prove to be transformational for their people.
The Games prides itself on being a leader and pioneer in various global social issues, setting the standard in areas such as gender equality and inclusiveness
The Commonwealth Games Federation’s Transformation 2022 agenda, and its values of humanity, equality and destiny, underpin the strength of the Commonwealth Games and its evolution into the next decade and beyond. The Games prides itself on being a leader and pioneer in various global social issues, setting the standard in areas such as gender equality and inclusiveness.
For the first time ever in the history of a major multi-sport Games there will be an equal number of medal events for men and women at GC2018. This sets a precedent for future events, and is also a catalyst for Commonwealth countries to advance gender equality across their own communities.
The Commonwealth Games has also played an important role in advancing the integrated para-sport movement, providing an inclusive environment for these athletes to compete alongside their able-bodied counterparts. At the next edition of the Games on the Gold Coast the para-sport programme will be the most extensive in Commonwealth Games history.
Meanwhile, in a first of its kind for a Commonwealth Games organising committee, the GC2018 Reconciliation Action Plan is driving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment, training and economic opportunities.
This was highlighted at The Queen’s Baton Relay launch at Buckingham Palace in London, including for the first time two Yugambeh Language Group elders from the Gold Coast who stood with the Queen and invited the first native peoples of the Commonwealth to GC2018.
Through the CGF the Commonwealth Games have a clear focus on accessibility and sustainability, built on a model that is committed to leaving a positive lasting legacy in the host community and the communities of the 70 nations and territories that participate.
GC2018 has shown leadership in the lead-up and preparation and planning for the Games in the area of sustainability and accessibility by delivering the Games to international standards, leaving positive economic environmental, social and community legacies.
This leadership has been acknowledged by the local organising committee, the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation receiving the Gold Coast’s first 4 Star Green Star – Interiors PILOT rating for its Ashmore headquarters.
GOLDOC’s commitment to sustainability has also been demonstrated by being awarded a major industry accolade by the Australian Business Award for commitment to sustainable business practise.
This extends to the 17 new and redeveloped GC2018 competition venues constructed to maximise each venue’s space for events from grassroots through to elite-level competition now and post-Games and avoids the white elephant of constructing venues that only provide community value for the 11 days of Commonwealth Games competition.
As the first regional city in Australia to host the Commonwealth Games, the 21st edition has developed a sustainable model that will minimise costs and deliver real legacy for the city, state and the Commonwealth sport movement now, during and after the Games
As the first regional city in Australia to host the Commonwealth Games, the 21st edition has developed a sustainable model that will minimise costs and deliver real legacy for the city, state and the Commonwealth sport movement now, during and after the Games.
These long-lasting benefits will transform the local jobs market, accelerate and diversify economic growth and drive domestic and international visitors.
The Games legacy is in full swing with the local communities already benefitting from GC2018 venues, such as the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre, Coomera Indoor Sports Centre and Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre that are open to the public and hosting domestic and international events.
And the GC2018 model is built to invest in projects that will provide high social, community and infrastructure value. The objectives for the Gold Coast and the event cities of Brisbane, Cairns and Townsville is to leave each city in a better place than before.
This means initiatives like building multi-purpose infrastructure that houses GC2018 sport competition then supports broader economic opportunities following the completion of the Games.
There is no better example of this than where GC2018 have opted for the construction of new movie sound stage for the Squash competition. The venue is perfect for housing international squash competition however it will provide tens of millions of dollars in economic and employment opportunities for future generations of Gold Coast residents.
GC2018 is also providing a significant avenue through school and community programmes to inform generations of Queenslanders and other Australians of the importance of not only the Commonwealth Games, but its major social responsibilities.
The GC2018 Schools Connect Programme has linked Gold Coast schools across the Commonwealth and provided school communities the opportunity to connect, learn and embrace the Commonwealth movement and adopt one of the 70 nations and territories competing at the Commonwealth Games.
These messages of sustainability and inclusiveness are also touching the nations and territories through the 388-day journey of the Queen’s Baton Relay.
As a world-class spectacle the Commonwealth Games attracts billions of TV viewers, more than a million spectators and draws the attention of globally recognised brands
As a world-class spectacle the Commonwealth Games attracts billions of TV viewers, more than a million spectators and draws the attention of globally recognised brands.
And while it is disappointing that Durban will not be able to host the first African-based Commonwealth Games, which will hopefully be a reality in the near future, it is exciting to see the significant interest in the Games off the back of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and the positive perception and progress of GC2018.
The success of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games rejuvenated the Games movement by regenerating the host city’s events and tourism sector, creating a newfound civic pride, investing in sustainable community infrastructure and driving economic activity in small- and medium-sized businesses. This momentum will continue on the Gold Coast in less than 300 days’ time.
GC2018 is providing a blueprint for other cities around the world to realise that hosting the Commonwealth Games is not only a viable option but a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to shape their city and community.
And as long as the Commonwealth Games movement continues to have a positive impact on the nations and territories of the Commonwealth, inspires and delivers a high quality sporting and culture event that leaves a lasting-legacy, the Games will remain a critical fixture of the global sporting calendar.