An incredible summer of sport and culture
And just like that, after more than two years of planning across the University, the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games is over. What an incredible summer of sport and culture the Games delivered. From two absolutely fantastic ceremonies, to packed restaurants, hotels and visitor attractions across a vibrant city centre, rammed full of people like we’ve not seen before, it certainly has been a “game-changing” experience.
A Games nobody wanted
Birmingham 2022 will be a pivotal moment in the history of the city and one that will act as a springboard across multiple levels to elevate Birmingham further on the global stage, where we belong. What has been achieved is even more incredible, given that at one point, 2022 was a Games nobody wanted, after Durban, the original host city for 2022 withdrew.
With half the time to prepare than previous host cities, a global pandemic not seen in our lifetimes, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, political uncertainty domestically and a series of train strikes, it is even more remarkable what has been achieved by all Games partners. The Commonwealth Games has been more than revived. It has been given a massive blast of Brummie passion, creativity and pride.
We’ve shown the world what we are about and blown into oblivion previously outdated perceptions of our city and region for generations to come. The vision of Birmingham 2022 was to be “a Games for Everyone” and Birmingham and the West Midlands truly came together to celebrate and be part of this once in a generation event like never before. It was magical, inspirational and will leave behind a legacy of pride and renewed confidence in its people across the region.
Birmingham 2022 set the bar high
Multiple new Games benchmarks have also been set, as this was the Games that delivered a series of firsts for the Commonwealth movement including;
– More medal events for women than men
– An integrated parasport programme
– Only one new venue built to stage the Games, with a focus on existing or temporary venues, to support wider sustainability objectives
– A new Athletes’ Village model at multiple sites across the region
– An increased focus on equality, inclusion and human rights
– 1.5m tickets sold – the most ever.
– 26 different nations winning gold medals (the third most since 2018 and 2002 Games)
– And a new mechanical bull, that blew everyone away and found its way into the hearts and minds of anyone watching around the world.
A phenomenal success
Despite the Games having ended, our jobs are far from complete, as we work with the Organising Committee and their partners to return our campus back to normal and remove all the temporary infrastructure and equipment the Games required – a hugely complex undertaking in itself! And as the dust settles, and the magnitude of everything that has happened over the past month to two years begins to sink in, I’m incredibly proud of the part we’ve played in making the Games a phenomenal success across our tier 1 partnership.
Proud of how our University came together across our professional services and academic schools and colleges and proud of how our campus welcomed more than 180,000 spectators and provided the most iconic backdrop of the Games as the eyes of the Commonwealth focused on our region. We even had the weather on our side!
A massive thank you to all the athletes, volunteers and everyone that has worked on the Games to deliver the greatest sporting spectacle the West Midlands has ever seen and that the country has hosted since London 2012.
Tom Clift, Head of Commonwealth Games Project Delivery, University of Birmingham