The closing ceremony for the 2018 Commonwealth Games was held on 15 April 2018 in the Carrara stadium, Gold Coast. The worldwide broadcast began at 20:30 and finished at 22:30 AEST, lasting almost two hours.
Dignitaries in attendance
- Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex - Vice Patron of the Commonwealth Games Federation
- Louise Martin - President of the Commonwealth Games Federation
- Annastacia Palaszczuk - Premier of Queensland
- Tom Tate - Mayor of Gold Coast
- Sam Coffa - President of Commonwealth Games Australia
- Anne Underwood - Lord Mayor of Birmingham
- Ian Metcalfe - Chairman of Commonwealth Games England
The closing ceremony started with a performance of Australian singer Amy Shark. She performed the song "Let Love Rule". She then introduced Australian musician Archie Roach and together with the youth choir continued the performance. Then thirteen year old poet Solli Raphael recited a poem about the Games. He is known for winning the Australian Poetry Slam competition in 2017 and is the youngest ever to win the competition. Australian singer Ricki-Lee Coutler performed her song "All We Need is Love". She also performed in the opening ceremony with her song "Technicolor Love". After her, Australian boy group The Koi Boys gave a performance. Anthony Callea performed the song "You Should Be Dancing" originally by the Bee Gees. After him, Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt appeared as DJ along with Games mascot Borobi in the middle of the stage.
GOLDOC chairman Peter Beattie gave a speech:
|“||What fantastic Games we have had. We have made history. We have shown the world what is means to be an Australian, Queenslander and Gold Coaster. Gold Coast 2018 will be remembered for many reasons. It will be remembered for firsts. These Games will be remembered for equal medals for women and men. These Games saw the full and authentic introducation of para-athletes. These Games saw recognition of our abrorignal people. The Commmonwealth Games are extrodinary. They are a way for us to come together and share what we have in common. These Games will be remembered for the passion and commitment of so many people.....||”|
|— Peter Beattie, GOLDOC Chairman|
He also praised the athletes, volunteers, the CGF and wished good luck to the Birmingham 2022 committee. After him, the David Dixon Award was presented by the CGF president Louise Martin to New Zealand weightlifter David Liti who won gold at the Men's +105 kg weightlifting event at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Following the David Dixon award presentation, Louise Martin gave a speech about the conduct of the Games:
|“||Gold Coast 2018 will forever be remembered as 'the Games of Firsts'. When I spoke at the opening of the Games 11 days ago, I asked the assembled athletes to grasp the opportunity of the Commonwealth Games and create their own history and fulfil their dreams. I must sincerely thank and congratulate them for rising so magnificently to this challenge.....
9 World Records and 83 Games Records were broken. From the first ever medals for Commonwealth islands and states; the first ever Jamaican Lawn Bowls team, the “Reggae Rollers", or the first-ever Ugandan netball team competing so strongly - these captivating stories, and the many others we witnessed here in Australia, are what Commonwealth sport is all about. It is what sets us apart in the world of sport and confirms that the ‘Friendly Games’ is alive and well, indeed more relevant than ever before....
The inspiring and impactful performances of our Commonwealth athletes have delivered on the promise of a historic collection of ‘firsts’ that were achieved in the run up to Games; whether that be the ground-breaking Reconciliation Action Plan, the equal number of medals for men and women for the first time, or the largest ever fully-integrated para-sport programme seen in Commonwealth and world sport.....
|— Louise Martin, President of the CGF|
Martin also announced that the Games mascot Borobi should remain active after the Games in order to support and raise funds for the Yugambeh community. After Martin, Premier of Queensland Ananstacia Palaszczuk gave a speech:
|“||.....What we have seen the past two weeks is the beginning of Queensland's golden age. Nothing can stop us now. This should be the model for all Games to come. The world has seen Queensland at its best - where life is beautiful one day and perfect the next. You will always have friends right here in Queensland, thank you.||”|
|— Annastacia Palaszczuk, Premier of Queensland|
The commonwealth Games ceremonial flag was passed from Tom Tate, Mayor of Gold Coast to Sam Coffa, President of Commonwealth Games Australia, to Louise Martin, President of the Commonwealth Games Federation, to Ian Metcalfe, Chairman of Commonwealth Games England and finally to Anne Underwood, Lord Mayor of Birmingham. Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate presented his speech to the audience and thanked the volunteers for their support and wished good luck to the Birmingham 2022 committee. President of Commonwealth Games Australia Sam Coffa presented his speech and praised Gold Coast city and the athletes of the Games. He then offered his thanks to the people of Gold Coast for their support. After him, Lord Mayor of Birmingham Anne Underwood gave her speech and told the crowd:
|“||We are young and diverse city - we will showcase our city's youth and diversity||”|
|— Lord Mayor of Birmingham Anne Underwood|
After her speech ended, a video about Birmingham's life and culture was shown in the screens of the stadium. The video showed the skyline of Birmingham city, its street markets, active youth, shopping streets, bars, pubs, Birmingham New Street railway station, trams and spaghetti junction. In the video, a man and a girl was shown dancing in one of the pubs of Birmingham and said ''a night you never forget, in a city that never sleeps''. The video ended with displaying the word #BRUM. Lady Sanity, a rap artist from Birmingham, performed with her song ''Go The Distance''.
- Australian recording artists such as Amy Shark, Anthony Callea, Dami Im, Deborah Conway, Guy Sebastian, Kate Ceberano, Ricki-Lee Coulter, Samantha Jade and The Veronicas performed at the ceremony.
- Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, declared the Games closed and passed the Commonwealth Games flag to Birmingham, England which will host the 2022 Games.
For operational reasons, the Gold Coast 2018 Organising Committee had decided that the athletes still on the Gold Coast would enter the arena during the pre-show, before the ceremony began, which is not broadcast and played only on the big screen within the venue to entertain the crowds. This was certainly not a decision without precedent. It was deemed necessary for operationally related athlete welfare reasons and had been briefed to the Commonwealth Games Federation which had approved the plan. It was also briefed into official athlete representatives some weeks before the event and also to host broadcast representatives many weeks in advance of the Games. In fact, all key stakeholders were aware and had signed off on the proposed plan well before the Closing Ceremony aired.
The television broadcast featured relatively few images of the athletes; whose celebration traditionally forms a focus of the closing ceremony. However, the media failed to report that athlete attendance on the night was the lowest in Commonwealth Games history (many elected to attend a Channel 9 party in the City) and plans to recognise and explicitly celebrate all the athletes present during the early performance of 'You Should Be Dancing' by Anthony Callea had to be curtailed as there were actually too few athletes on the field of play to deliver the desired broadcast images. (A clue to the original intent can seen on camera when Callea was accompanied on stage by a troupe of some 20 athletes who had learnt a choreographic sequence in the Athletes' Village in the days leading up to the Ceremony. Adding Usain Bolt to the scene was intended to further highlight the achievements of the athletes. The athletes who entered the stadium prior to broadcast had also been taught a dance routine for them to perform on camera in anticipation of them being celebrated when the broadcast cameras went live).
Post ceremony the media offered a skewed account of events which was never actually contradicted or corrected by the stakeholders (Gold Coast 2018, The Commonwealth Games Federation etc) who had signed off on the plan. At no time was attention drawn to the lack of athlete presence in the stadium or the fact that many of them were attending a party held by Channel 9 - one of the most vocal critical voices and also one of the stakeholders that had been briefed well in advance event.
With hindsight, the low athlete attendance on the night was foreshadowed during the Opening Ceremony which also fell victim to poor - and many felt, disrespectful - athlete attendance.
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