THE COAST SAYS 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
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.
Nikita Payne of Barbados scores a goal against Scotland during a netball match at the Convention Centre.
Diamanto Evripidou from Cyprus competes in the ribbon event of the rhythmic gymnastics individual all-around final at the Coomera Indoor Sports Centre.
Alys Thomas from Wales competes during the women's 200m butterfly final.
Jamaica's Aisha Praught celebrates after winning the women's 3000m steeplechase final.
Viktoria Skittidi from Cyprus performs with the ball during the women's rhythmic gymnastics team final.