Queen Elizabeth II has been head of the Commonwealth for 63 of her 90 years and has seen much change in that time. Under her stewardship the Commonwealth has grown from a handful of founding nations into a voluntary association of 53 independent countries, promoting democracy freedom and sustainable development.
Her Majesty has lived through every single edition of the Commonwealth Games (although she was only five for the first one). And so, in honour of Her Majesty’s 90th birthday, here are Team England’s top 10 moments at the Commonwealth Games during her 63 year reign.
1. 1954 Vancouver– In one of the most iconic moments in Commonwealth Games history Roger Bannister and John Landy competed in what became known as the 'Miracle Mile', both men had recently run under 4 minutes for the mile, could either man run the mile in under 4 minutes on the International stage and who would take gold?
2. 1966 Kingston– Badminton was introduced to the sports programme – England won three out of the five available titles with Angela Bairstow taking Women’s Singles gold, Helen Jonny-Horton and Ursula Smith claiming the Women’s Doubles title and Angela Bairstow topping the podium again, this time in the Mixed Doubles with Roger Mills.
3. 1982 Brisbane– England won medals in every sport! In a Games first, sprinter Mike McFarlane had to share his gold medal with Scottish rival Alan Wells in 200m final dead heat time of 20.43!
4. 1986 Edinburgh– England topped the medal table for the first time. Sir Steve Redgrave won three gold medals, he stole the show, winning the single sculls, coxless pairs and coxed fours. Redgrave later said that it was his three titles in Edinburgh that prevented him from an early retirement, long before he won his four other Olympic golds.
5. 1990 Auckland– A young Jason Statham competes in the diving!
6. 1998 Kuala Lumpur– Denise Lewis, later to become President of Commonwealth Games England, retains her heptathlon Gold, paving the way for Olympic Gold 2 years later!
7. 2002 Manchester– In the Queen’s golden jubilee year, the city of Manchester had the honour of staging the 2002 Commonwealth Games. History was made when for the first time medals won by Para athletes counted towards the overall medals table, a first in any major international multi-sport event.
8. 2006 Melbourne– It was an historic Games for Mick Gault. Already the Commonwealth Games’ most decorated shooter, Mick went on to overtake the great Karen Pickering for most medals won by an English competitor.
9. 2010 Delhi– Archer Danielle Brown also made history by becoming the first Para athlete to compete in able-bodied competition and then became the first to win an event taking Gold.
10. 2014 Glasgow–Gymnast Claudia Fragapane won four gold medals, the most of any English competitor at a single Games for 80 years.
The Queen has seen Team England achieve some of the finest sporting moments at the Commonwealth Games, we hope there will be many more to come at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.