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Page last updated at 17:09 GMT, Wednesday, 23 December 2009
2002: Bring on the Games

Natalie du Toit at the Manchester Commonwealth Games

For 11 glorious days, Manchester became the centre of the sporting world in 2002, as the 17th Commonwealth Games came to town, bringing with it the biggest sporting event the UK has ever hosted.

Bringing over 3,800 athletes from 72 nations to the city, the Games were a feast of sport, culture and colour for everyone involved, be them competitor or supporter.

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Australian Ian Thorpe dominated the pool, though it was another swimmer, Natalie du Toit, who wowed the newly constructed Manchester Aquatics Centre.

The South African made sporting history by becoming the first paralympian to make the finals of an able-bodied event (the 800m freestyle), a feat that saw her given the David Dixon Award for the Games' most outstanding athlete during the closing ceremony.

The lasting legacy of the Games for Manchester was the rebirth, restoration and renovation it brought to the city.

Chief amongst the new buildings were Sportcity, East Manchester's brand new complex of the City of Manchester Stadium (which would be later handed over to Manchester City), the existing Velodrome and the National Squash Centre.

Over in the city centre, Manchester Piccadilly Station got a much-needed facelift, while Urbis opened its doors for the first time.

And most significantly for the nation, Manchester's achievement in hosting such an amazing event led to London being successful in their bid to host 2012's Olympic Games.

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2001: A town in crisis
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2003: Bathed in glory
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2004: Scholars galore
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2005: A tale of two Uniteds
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2006: Back for good
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2007: First for culture
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2008: The people say no
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2009: Hooray for Hollinwood
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