The Friendly Games: part 2

The number of countries participating in the Games has slowly grown to over 70, and thousands of athletes now participate. Without competition from the USA and the major European countries, Australia, Canada, and the British countries (which compete separately) usually win the most medals. As happens for the Olympics, host countries usually build special new facilities for the Games. Manchester spent 20 years preparing for the 2002 Games and built a new 48,000-seat stadium which cost over £100 million. Luckily, the Games attracted around 1 million visitors to the city and were a financial success. The Commonwealth Games have their own version of the Olympic torch ceremony. On Commonwealth Day (May 11th) in a Games year, the Queen hands a baton containing a message to an athlete. This is then passed in relay style to other athletes. They run through different Commonwealth countries until they reach the host nation. The baton is opened and the Queen's message is read out at the opening ceremony of the Games.


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