The Commonwealth Games closing ceremony was savaged by damn near everyone last night after a controversial decision by the event’s organisers not to broadcast the entrance of the competing athletes.
That decision meant TV viewers didn’t witness the triumphant flagbearing moment of Kurt Fearnley, Australia‘s wheelchair marathon gold medallist. In fact, TV audiences didn’t get to see many athletes celebrating their appearance at the Gold Coast event at all.
In a blistering rebuke of the event, Channel 7‘s own commentators Johanna Griggs and Basil Zempilas said they were contractually obliged to only show footage the Games provided, and that it was not Channel 7’s decision to omit the athletes’ entrance from their broadcast.
Zempilas mirrored audience concerns by saying “It hasn’t really lived up to expectations,” but Grigg went further. Way further.
“I’m sorry, you’re being way too polite,” Griggs said, adding that the decision was “wrecking tradition”. The commentator went as far to rip the apparent lack of excitement inside the Metricon Stadium, saying “I’ve never seen a stadium so empty halfway through a closing ceremony.”
— 7CommGames (@7CommGames) April 15, 2018
Footage posted to social media from the stadium and its surrounds appears to show blocks of empty seats and masses of audience members leaving partway through proceedings.
— Belinda Seeney (@BelindaSeeney) April 15, 2018
— Dan Oliver (@danwaterski) April 15, 2018
— Lachlan Kennedy (@lachlan_kennedy) April 15, 2018
Audiences piped up about the quality of the show online, too.
If this #ClosingCeremony doesn’t make those Cameroon athletes rethink wanting to stay in Australia nothing will.
— Nicholas O'Hara-Boyd (@nicholasesq) April 15, 2018
— Pablo Fiasco (@Ptain) April 15, 2018
There you have it: fans and commentators alike agree a crowning achievement for one of Australia’s toughest athletes wasn’t given the send-off it deserved.
Source: The Sydney Morning Herald
— Kurt Fearnley (@kurtfearnley) April 15, 2018
Image: Michael Steele / Getty Images