THE COAST SAYS G’DAY

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - COMMONWEALTH GAMES - PAUL WE­STON paul.we­ston@news.com.au

“G’DAY.”

We wel­comed you the only way we knew how – a gen­uine Aussie greet­ing with open arms and a smile.

“G’day. Wel­come to Aus­tralia, wel­come to Queens­land and wel­come to the Gold Coast. Wel­come also to the Com­mon­wealth Games,” GOLDOC chair­man Peter Beat­tie said, be­gin­ning his speech at the start of the open­ing cer­e­mony.

This was the start of our big­gest ever party. The count­down to April 4, 2018 as or­gan­is­ers pre­pared for the Games had been a marathon lo­gis­tics ex­er­cise.

Re­mem­ber the an­nounce­ment, back in Novem­ber 2011, when then-Premier Anna Bligh and the late Ron Clarke, as Mayor, were in St Kitts in the Caribbean as the Coast beat the Sri Lankan city of Ham­ban­tota?

First si­lence wait­ing for the vote then the start of all this cheer­ing among Coast res­i­dents in the Broad­wa­ter Park­lands.

Along came the doubters. Just like with big brother Bris­bane when it hosted the 1982 Com­mon­wealth Games and Expo ‘88. How could a coun­try town do that, the crit­ics asked?

How could the Gold Coast, just a coastal vil­lage made up of lit­tle beach spots and the glit­ter of Surfers Par­adise, pos­si­bly unite to stage Queens­land’s big­gest ever sport­ing event? Again they were wrong.

You all helped change that. Each and ev­ery one of you who gave your sup­port.

From the ath­letes and the of­fi­cials, the vol­un­teers, GOLDOC staffers, vis­i­tors and res­i­dents who bought tick­ets to all the venues. Es­pe­cially “the vol­lies”, the 15,000 strong army of vol­un­teer helpers.

“Wel­come, I hope you have a great day,” they said, to the 672,000 vis­i­tors and 6600 com­peti­tors.

The “vol­lies” were with us at the re­built Car­rara Sta­dium packed with fans and a vibe like never be­fore, and at the Aquatic Cen­tre through rain and shine.

You were in the tents giv­ing help­ful direc­tions by the white sands at Cur­rumbin be­fore the road cy­cling, tak­ing us through the Hin­ter­land at Nerang for the moun­tain bik­ing. Ev­ery­where among the green and gold, we looked for your di­rec­tion.

On find­ing our seats it was show time, a chance to watch the best ath­letes in the Com­mon­wealth.

This event has changed us. There was the Gold Coast be­fore the Games and the Coast af­ter.

We have a tra­di­tion, in this tourist city, of of­fer­ing hol­i­day pic­ture post­cards.

This is for you. Share it with your friends. Tell them when we say “G’day”, we mean it.

The Car­rara Sta­dium is lit up by fireworks as a gi­ant in­flat­able

Pic­ture: GETTY IM­AGES

Samuel Gaze of New Zealand com­petes dur­ing the men's cross coun­try at Nerang Moun­tain Bike Trails.

Jonathan Drack from Mau­ri­tius com­petes in the men's long jump.

Pic­ture: GETTY IM­AGES

Nikita Payne of Bar­ba­dos scores a goal against Scot­land dur­ing a net­ball match at the Con­ven­tion Cen­tre.

Pic­ture: AFP PHOTO

Dia­manto Evripi­dou from Cyprus com­petes in the rib­bon event of the rhyth­mic gym­nas­tics in­di­vid­ual all-around fi­nal at the Coomera In­door Sports Cen­tre.

Pic­ture: AFP PHOTO

Alys Thomas from Wales com­petes dur­ing the women's 200m but­ter­fly fi­nal.

Pic­ture: AFP PHOTO

Ja­maica's Aisha Praught cel­e­brates af­ter win­ning the women's 3000m steeple­chase fi­nal.

Pic­ture: AFP PHOTO

Vik­to­ria Skit­tidi from Cyprus per­forms with the ball dur­ing the women's rhyth­mic gym­nas­tics team fi­nal.

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