Adam Peaty is right about the Commonwealth Games not being the pinnacle for many sports

The debate does spark a wider conversation about the Commonwealth Games more generally; about their role and worth in the sporting universe. The truth is, if the Olympics are the biggest show on earth, the commies are a bit ‘village fete’ by comparison. These are still world-class athletes competing at Birmingham, to be sure. Most of them anyway. But there is a reason Bolt turned up only once in his career for a 4 x 100m relay. Track and field without the Americans? Gymnastics without the Russians or Chinese or Japanese or Eastern Europeans? The Commonwealths are not the pinnacle of these sports.

And that is fine. The Games are a celebration of our relationship with those nations; an opportunity for athletes to gain experience; to compete for an international title; for home nations athletes to compete for their home nations. Some sports, such as hockey, have many of the strongest countries in the world in the Commonwealth. Others do not. There is no need to be too sensitive about any of this, or try to dress up the games as something they are not.

The BBC probably do not help themselves in this regard. The fact they own the rights means they show wall-to-wall lawn bowls on the Red Button, and talk up the team table tennis as if it is the biggest event on earth. This annoys people who ask where they were when the world championships were on. Personally I enjoy all the idiosyncrasies, the randomness, the fact you are never quite sure who will be in great form and who will not. But canceling Peaty for stating facts is ridiculous.


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