Andrew Alderson

Andrew Alderson is a sport writer for the Herald on Sunday.

Five reasons why the Commonwealth Games can be saved

Usain Bolt's presence would bring credibility to the Commonwealth Games. Photo / Getty Images
Usain Bolt's presence would bring credibility to the Commonwealth Games. Photo / Getty Images

1 Lure Usain Bolt, David Rudisha and Asbel Kiprop
If the Games are to garner international credibility, these world and Olympic champions need to front. None did so in Delhi and each is unconfirmed this time. Organisers have described Bolt as "95 per cent certain" of competing, which hardly reassures. Kenyan authorities have also indicated Kiprop and Rudishamay get dispensation because they're unlikely to race trials this weekend. Regardless, it's a hard sell to top athletes whose livelihoods depend on prizemoney from events like the Diamond League. The Games don't clash but schedule planning means many athletes could give them a swerve.

2 Sky Sport and the NewZealand Olympic Committee employ marketing geniuses
The Commonwealth Games are struggling for traction through a depowered competition standard where the majority of Europe, East Asia, the Middle East, South America and the United States are absent. In the majority of the 17 sports, the medals weigh lighter than those of an Olympics or world championships.

A deluge of 'friendly Games' patriotic propaganda under the feel-good mantra of 'humanity, equality, destiny' needs beaming out. New Zealand athletes are getting 'practice' for the Olympics through a multi-sport extravaganza, broadcast to an estimated 1.5 billion audience. Feeling warm and fuzzy yet?

3 "Should Scotland be an independent country?"
That's the referendum question Scots across Britain will be asked the month after the Games. Those seeking freedomfrom307 years as part of Britain have extra incentive to showcase the country. Saboteurs have little motivation because it will be cast as a reason why Scotland could be better on its own. Expect services to operate smoothly in a glossy brochure of an event.

4 Get the Games back to a smaller country
Advocates have faced attrition to the brand since the Delhi event succumbed to mediocrity in 2010. The Games might be better scaled back or hosted by a smaller country or island rather than a city. Glasgow is a good case study to start. The event must be affordable enough so countries outside England, Canada and Australia can afford them. The Commonwealth consists of 71 countries-only nine have hosted.

5 Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and bonny Prince George
If the publicity campaign's in doubt, roll the next generation of the royal family out-but don't overuse them (see point four). Surely no event could fail if Wills parades an Argyle sweater, Kate wears a lead hemmed tartan skirt and George dons a Harris tweed bonnet. If this trio don't appear, then opt for the usual suspects: Sir Chris Hoy, Sir Sean Connery, Sir Alex Ferguson, Billy Connolly, Andy Murray, Ronnie Corbett and Austin Powers' Fat Bastard.

- APNZ

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