Australia

Peter Beattie apologises for Commonwealth Games closing ceremony 'stuff-up'

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Commonwealth Games chairman Peter Beattie has apologised for the"stuff-up" during the closing ceremony after athletes were not featured in the live broadcast.

After seven years of preparation and 11 days of competition, the final act of the Commonwealth Games fell flat on Sunday after viewers and host commentators slammed the closing ceremony for breaking tradition.

Viewers turned to social media to vent their frustration after organisers decided not to show the athletes and flagbearers enter Carrara Stadium on the Gold Coast to the traditional chorus of cheers during the closing ceremony.

Following outrage from viewers and even the Channel Seven broadcasters, chairman Peter Beattie apologised for the “stuff-up” on Monday morning claiming the decision was driven by athlete welfare.

“What we were trying to do, we were concerned about athlete welfare,” he told Seven's Sunrise.

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Commonwealth Games organisers slammed for closing ceremony.
Commonwealth Games organisers slammed for closing ceremony.

“One of the problems is when you have thousands of athletes where do you put them? The last thing they want is to stand in a field for an hour waiting to get into a closing ceremony.

“But we made a mistake..that was clearly a stuff-up. I am sorry, and if I get a chance, I will apologise to kurt this morning."

Channel Seven hosts Johanna Griggs and Basil Zempilas expressed their frustration following the two-and-a-half hour ceremony, which did not feature the athletes entering the stadium to the traditional chorus of cheers.

"Look, we understand many people have been disappointed by tonight’s closing ceremony,” Zempilas said at the conclusion of the ceremony.

"To be perfectly honest Jo, so have we. It hasn’t really lived up to expectations. I’ve got to say it’s about the only thing they got wrong. They did get it wrong tonight."

2018 Commonwealth Games - Closing Ceremony.
Usain Bolt and Commonwealth Games mascot Borobi the blue koala on stage during the Closing Ceremony for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
PA Images

Griggs was quick to defend her network amid the furore, but went even further with her criticism.

"People are thinking that Channel Seven has chosen not to show pictures of athletes or not to show the flag-bearer, Kurt Fearnley or other flag-bearers. We can only show the pictures that are provided by the actual host broadcasters," she said.

"They made the decision not to have the actual athletes enter the stadium, they made the decision not to show the flag-bearers and I'm furious.

"They're actually wrecking a tradition that is so important and part of the Commonwealth Games."

Viewers expressed their anger on social media.

Griggs said half the stadium had emptied during the ceremony and most of the athletes had already left.

Zempilas also pointed out the speeches from the dignitaries dragged on for "way too long" and were a little "self-indulgent".

Despite the finale being heavily criticised, Gold Coast Commonwealth Games organising committee chairman Peter Beattie labelled the last 11 days as "innovative" and "inspirational".

Nine world records fell and 83 Games records were broken, while five countries won Commonwealth medals for first time ever in the 21st instalment of the Commonwealth Games.

Australia blitzed the medal tally with 80 gold, making it the country's fourth most successful Games, while arch-rivals England had a final tally of 45 golds.

- With AAP

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