Commonwealth Games: More Than A Mirror Of Olympic Sports Schedule

Every four years, nations from around the globe compete in the Commonwealth Games. Most of the participating countries are part of the Commonwealth — a group of nations that were once part of the British Empire. This year’s Games — the 20th edition — are in Glasgow, Scotland. There will be approximately 6,500 athletes from 71 nations and territories competing in 17 sports. The Games run from July 23 to Aug. 3.

Only A Game’s Doug Tribou is in Glasgow to cover the Games and is keeping a reporter’s notebook while he’s there. See all his updates here.

Give the Commonwealth Games program a quick glance and it can appear to be a smaller-scale Summer Olympics. Many of the traditional summer sports — swimming and diving, track and field (known as "athletics" for these Games), weightlifting, gymnastics, cycling, boxing and judo — are on the bill. However, the Commonwealth Games include a few sports that don't appear in the Olympics — and one that soon will.

Spectators in Glasgow will get an Olympic preview in the form of rugby sevens, a sport we've covered on Only A Game. It will join the Olympic program in 2016 and is a big part of the schedule here in Scotland. The matches will be held in a stadium that is normally home to the soccer — err, football — team Celtic F.C. The field has been reworked for rugby sevens.

This year's program features 17 sports in all, with multiple events in each category. Here are some of the other sports on the bill that tend to get less attention among U.S. sports fans (even if they are featured in the Olympics):

  • Badminton
  • Hockey - No, not ice hockey. This is what we refer to as field hockey in the U.S. and there are women's and men's teams.
  • Lawn Bowls - In the states, we'd call it lawn bowling or bocce. And at the Commonwealth Games, they take it much more seriously.
  • Mountain Biking
  • Netball - A variation on basketball. No dribbling, no backboards, and players remain in designated areas of the court. The sport is played by men and women, but there are only women's events at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
  • Shooting - Men and women compete in rifle, pistol, shotgun and full bore events.
  • Squash
  • Table Tennis
  • Triathlon - There will be a men's race, a women's race and a mixed-team relay.

After making international news when it was dropped and then eventually restored to the Olympic program, wrestling is on the slate here in Glasgow. Females and males will compete in freestyle wrestling in several weight classes.

The 2014 Games mark a major moment for para-sports. Unlike the Paralympics, which are a separate event held after the Olympic Games, the Commonwealth Games incorporates its para-sports and traditional sports into one program. The 2014 schedule will set a record for para-sport medal events with 22.

Click here for Tuesday's update, in which Doug tells us about the Queen's Baton Relay.

Headshot of Doug Tribou

Doug Tribou Reporter/Producer
Doug Tribou was formerly a reporter and producer at WBUR and for WBUR's Only A Game.



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