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Commonwealth Games 2002
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Sports Talk Monday, 5 August, 2002, 09:13 GMT 10:13 UK
Can Britain stage the Olympics?
The Manchester Games were a resounding success
The clamour for a British Olympic bid increases following Manchester's spectacular Commonwealth Games.

Is Britain capable? And which city would do the best job?


This debate is now closed.


Euphoric after staging a memorable Commonwealth Games, the Manchester lobby is now pushing for a 2012 Olympic bid.

Olympic president Jacques Rogge said Manchester had gone a long way to restoring Britain's credibility, but questioned whether any UK city other than the capital could accommodate the Games.

Could Britain pull the Olympics off? And should Manchester be the city of choice?


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Instead of trying to do the impossible (getting the games held in Manchester) why can we not all support a bid from London?
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Sandra,UK

This is a joke surely? The UK has a public transport system that shames us all. Our railways are not even third-rate; the Underground compares unfavourably with cattle trucks and our motorways are falling to bits.

It is cheaper to buy a house in France than to stay in a London hotel for the week, and the quality of service is the diabolical. Don't get me wrong, I love it here. But not everyone shares my masochism!
Andrew,UK

We will never host the Olympics for the reasons this page has shown - we can't even agree on a venue. The IOC have made it clear they would only accept a bid from London, but we still get people whinging that it should be anywhere else.

Instead of trying to do the impossible (getting the games held in Manchester) why can we not all pull together and support a bid from London?
Sandra,UK

I have seen London and its politicians mess up event after event. The transport is a joke, Wembley is now derelict and the Dome was total fiasco. The problem is that London is not a unified city with a sense of strong pride or identity. It is a plaything for bureaucrats and governments.

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To say that Manchester will not be allowed to go forward as a host for the 2012 Olympic Games is disgraceful
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Trevor, UK, England

Britain is highly centralised with most of the media and politics in London. In Oz we have a decentralised nation with two world-class cities (Melbourne and Sydney) and the political centre wedged in between at Canberra.

Come on UK, put faith in your major cities. Look at Barcelona, look at Lyon, look at Hamburg...if they can be world-class then so can Manchester!
Robert Archer, Australia

Listening to the comments of Jacques Rogge, I feel that they are looking for a city which has charm, the capacity to take in many extra tourists and good communications. Why not a smaller town like Oxford/Cambridge to stage the Olympic bid.

They certainly have the ability to cope with thousands of visitors, both have charm, and would be superb venues for the Olympics. Of course, no sporting facilities of note exist there yet, but it could give the impetus to a national stadium in a fairly central and neutral location.

I feel that it needs more of a creative solution to win the Olympics now, as the IOO are looking to move away from the massive debt burdening razzamataz feel that has occurred since Montreal in '76.
Jon Harford, Belgium

I was very fortunate to attend two events at the recent Commonwealth Games and have nothing but praise for everyone connected with the organisation. Even at the height of major events there was never a problem with traffic congestion and parking.

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If Atlanta can host the Olympic Games, anyone can!
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Chris Wheatley, New Zealand

To say that Manchester will not be allowed to go forward as a host for the 2012 Olympic Games is disgraceful. The infrastructure is in place, and by then the public transport system will have been improved no end with the extension of the Metrolink. Not like London where people will be made to pay for the privilege of driving in the city.
Trevor, UK, England

If Atlanta can host the Olympic Games, anyone can! I am astonished this question is even being asked of England. Apart from anything else it would be an opportunity to establish a new all-purpose sporting complex somewhere outside London with all the appropriate infrastructure - a much needed facility in England.
Chris Wheatley, New Zealand

London was host to Olympics in 1948 and would be more prepared in 2012.Why not?
Robert Lantz, USA

London is the ONLY UK city than can meet one critical requirement - the number of hotel rooms needed! As for Wembley and Picketts Lock, these debacles were brought about by the NATIONAL Government and the FA, not by London.

It's worth pointing out that Manchester certainly was an outstanding success - but the transport was rubbish and I know because I was there and suffered using it.

Personally, I don't think any UK Olympic bid will succeed because the Government completely blew our credibility with the IAAF over the 2005 World Athletics Championships!

As for the Aussies, who cares what they think, certainly not world sporting bodies. If it wasn't for the weather, they would never stage a world class sporting event. Well, not based on their charm and grace anyway.
Dave, England

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Unfortunately, the IOC will not award the Games to provincial cities again
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David,UK

The UK could stage the Olympics, provided the Government committed a vast amount of money to support the bid. Public Private Partnerships are not going to sway the demagogues at the IOC.

As to which city should lead the bid, Manchester would undoubtedly create a successful Games but unfortunately the IOC will not award the Games to provincial cities again. The lessons of Atlanta have been learned and from now on it's capitals and major cities only.

The argument that Sydney and Barcelona are not capitals does not hold, because one is the premier city of the nation and the other is the equal of the capital. Therefore, whether the infrastructure can cope and whether the extra billions above a Manchester bid are justified, the only city that might sway the IOC is London.

Personally, I don't believe it will ever happen because the cost of a London Games would comprehensively beat anything that has gone before. I cannot see any Government bankrolling such a venture.
David,UK

Unfortunately, the comments Ross makes are spot on. It's not that the IOC would only go for London because it's the capital city, but rather because it has an international profile. Sydney may not be the capital of Australia, but its international profile is far higher than Canberra.

London is the only place that will ever get the Olympics in this country. Instead of moaning about it, we should all be putting pressure on the government to inject the necessary funding to give us a chance of bringing the Olympics to these shores.

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Flat caps off to you Mancunians for a good Games, but you are now getting ideas way above your station
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Matthew, London

Just think - an Olympic bid would leave a legacy of excellent facilities in London, and could even make the dome useful for once! London may not have the infrastructure to support the Games at the moment, but what a perfect opportunity and excuse to regenerate our capital city.

As for Manchester, they should have left the athletics track in place, and then held the World Championships there in 2005. The atmosphere and noise at the Commonwealth Games shows that Manchester City could move in without ripping up the track.
Dave, England

As a Londoner, I must say flat caps off to all you Mancunians for staging a good Games. However, you are now getting ideas way above your station.

As someone who was at university in Manchester, I am expressing an "informed opinion" when I say there are two reasons why Manchester cannot ever get anywhere near the Olympics.

1. It is essentially a small City, backward compared to cosmopolitan London.
2. The weather is awful - it rains, day in day out (The closing ceremony was embarrassing).

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Manchester is a 21st century, young, vibrant city that would be ideal for an Olympic bid once again
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Simon Pearson, England

I am not expecting this email to be listed on the site, because, apparently, it is now officially illegal to proffer any constructive criticism against Manchester. In summary, thanks for doing a good job Manchester, but hand it over to the big boys now, you're well and truly out of your league.
Matthew, London, England

As a Mancunian I am so proud of how Manchester has staged the Commonwealth Games. Manchester is a 21st century, young, vibrant city that would be ideal for an Olympic bid once again.

London should not even be considered for a bid for the Olympic Games with a pathetic transport system, a totally run down city, lack of professional sport facilities and people who insist on a north south divide even though we are the same country. Well done, Manchester.
Simon Pearson, England

As a Brit living in the Middle East but visiting London regularly, I can only say that unless the third world infrastructure is totally revamped the logistics would be near impossible. The only world-class aspect of transport in London is the taxi service.

London is the most over-rated, expensive, frustrating and unexciting city that I visit. Give the Olympics to somewhere that has better organisational skills; Angola, Colombia, Sri Lanka and Kosovo spring to mind!
Malcolm, Dubai. UAE

I don't know why Jimmy Simms bothers viewing the BBC website if he hates the UK so much. Why do you put so much importance on weather? If I was an athlete, I would rather compete in Britain's milder climate than Australia's oppressive heat (I have lived in Sydney).

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London is dirty and rundown with a transport infrastructure on the point of collapse
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Nigel Johanes, Canada

And I must object to all this London bashing - if it is such a horrible place, why is it crammed with tourists all year round. People who say that it is such an unfriendly place should remember that half the people who live here don't even come from the south of England (or England itself for that matter).

London is the only choice; the IOC and their wives make the choice on where they want to spend their summer hols.
Ron, UK

I've just spent three weeks in the UK, including London and Manchester, and to those arrogant Londoners who say that their city is the only one in the country to have a positive international profile, I'd like to say that you couldn't be more wrong.

London is dirty and rundown with a transport infrastructure on the point of collapse.The hotels and restaurants are mediocre and overpriced, the people are at best indifferent and at worst - and most of the time - rude.

Manchester can hold its own with Toronto, Sydney, Barcelona and many other world- class cities, frankly London cannot. Gold stars go to Edinburgh, Newcastle and Cardiff too.
Nigel Johanes, Canada

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London can't even decide the fate of Wembley, amongst other venues, and the Underground system will take decades to sort out
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Andy, Manchester, England

Meanwhile, back in London, they are still deciding what economic benefits the wheel will bring. London should be preserved as the historic place it is, caught in a time-warp with relics running the dilapidated infrastructure.

Manchester should be the new capital as it's young, modern and willing to accept change without the beurocracy seen in London. Congratulations on proving that the number one city in the UK is Manchester.
John McCrawley, England

While Manchester did a brilliant job for the Commonwealth Games, the IOC criteria for the Olympics means only London could hope to successfully bid. Given the past track record of Wembley and Enfield, I do not beleive the vested interests in the capital could ever agree to work together long enough to mount a successful bid.
Robin Mobbs,UK

Some find it convenient to forget that despite Manchester running out of time to have many of the planned improvements to the transport infrastructure (such as the new Metrolink extensions) in place in time for the Commonwealth Games, they still pulled off one of the most successful events in living memory.

Just think what the city of Manchester could offer for 2012 when what is already in the pipeline still to do, will be complete? London can't even decide the fate of Wembley, amongst other venues, and the Underground system will take decades to sort out.
Andy, Manchester, England

I think Scotland should host the Olympics. We already have an Olympic standard rowing loch (Strathclyde Park) and an Olympic standard pool (Commonwealth pool in Edinburgh), all we need is a velodrome and to upgrade one of Glasgow's footie grounds.
Niall,Motherwell, Scotland

A British Olympic bid! Dream on...
John Cleland,UK

I think Britain could do a brilliant job but I would like to see it staged outside of London (preferably in the Midlands).

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London is a shambles of a city with an antiquated transport system and a record
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George Dodds, England

We should have permanent facilities constructed that could be used by our current crop of athletes, and as a centre of excellence for training our stars of the future.
Baz, UK

Robert's snide comments are typical of those Australians who think they're the only ones good at anything (a Brit would be called arrogant for saying half as much).

Of course the UK could stage the Olympics. Unfortunately for Manchester, just look at the specifications set down by the IOC and you will see your city doesn't meet the requirements.
Graeme, England

Manchester's success proves that London should not host the Games. It is a shambles of a city with an antiquated transport system and a record (Wembley, Dome, Picketts Lock) for not being able to finance major sporting construction.

Manchester, Birmingham or Sheffield could host a superb Olympics. London - as always - would muck it up.
George Dodds, England

The reason England should never get the Games is because of the weather. Every major sporting event, whether tennis, cricket, etc. are always ruined by rain. It is just bad luck, but the rest of us should not have to put up with pathetic conditions for the world's elite.

The Commonwealth Games in my opinion were not great, and because you put on a semi-spectacle, you think you can run the world. Hopefully in 30 years you may have got your act together, and the worsening ozone layer would have made your part of the world hotter and hopefully taken away the rain.
Jimmy Simms, Australia

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London is the only UK city with sufficient international appeal to beat off the likely competition
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Mark Barrett, UK

Robert of Australia suggests that Manchester was "laughed out" by the IOC for bidding for the 2000 Games. Manchester came second to Sydney, beating all other contenders.

It was through all the effort made by those bids for the Olympics that enabled Manchester to prove beyond a doubt that it could host such an event as the Commonwealth Games, and prove it it has. I moved from London to Manchester 11 years ago. The best move I've ever made.
Clive Wheeler, UK

There is a fundamental difference between potential and ability. Is there the potential? Yes. The lack of political and organisational will means, however, that the ability is not there at the moment to bring about the required changes to make the Olympics happen for us.
Canavan, UK

I applaud and congratulate Manchester's superb staging of the Commonwealth Games. However, London is the only UK city with sufficient international appeal to beat off the likely competition. Why elect to go to Birmingham or Manchester when the IOC members could have a fortnight in the sun of Sydney or Tokyo, for example?

Also, the Olympic hosts are not determined by the quality of the venues. It is primarily a political decision and the UK does not always make itself very popular abroad. Finally, all resources must be focussed on the bid; it should be remembered that Barcelona had its eye on the 1992 Games as far back as 1972. But London must be the focus of those concentrated efforts.
Mark Barrett, UK

I cannot believe that the British ministers are not supporting a Manchester bid for the Olympics, they are a disgrace. People of Manchester: do not let London jump on your bandwagon after all that hard work, this would never happen at home.

Shame on you London, you never supported the Manchester Games in the first place and now you want the Olympics!
Nell, Canberra, Australia

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As fantastic as the Manchester Games were, it is pretty clear that the IOC don't want to go to Manchester, Sheffield, Birmingham or anywhere else in the UK other then London
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Jon,England

Why should London benefit from Manchester's succes? It's an outrage that the British Olympic Association have ruled out a further Manchester bid.

The BOA argue that the Olympic movement would only ever back a 'capital' bid, but Barcelona, Sydney, and Atlanta aren't capitals and Barcelona had to bid three or four times before they succeeded. Think again BOA - Manchester DESERVES the Olympics, London most definitely does not.
Peter McCabe,London, England

As fantastic as the Manchester Games were, it is pretty clear that the IOC don't want to go to Manchester, Sheffield, Birmingham or anywhere else in the UK other then London.

The sooner the UK realises that London is the only option the better. Having the Olympics here would be superb, but I question whether the money to stage the event is available. Very little money goes to sport from the government as it is, take a look at the facilities in London.

Can you name any that can be used for an Olympics? Not only will this be expensive but also there is a slight transport problem to sort out too. Once these have been resolved then I see no reason why London cannot host the Games, but the attitude of the government and the vast majority of the country has got to change first.
Jon,England

Manchester have done themselves proud. I watched most of the Games on TV and I have to say that it looked fantastic. My only regret is that I wasn't there in person to witness it.

If Manchester were to bid for the Olympics, the rest of the country should get behind them. They've proven what they can do.
Andy, London

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Show the world a part of the UK which is new and refreshing to them - and highly capable of staging the Olympics!
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Richard, Cheshire

The Commonwealth Games are all well and good, but hosting the Olympics is a much harder deal. Manchester and other UK Cities (including London), just don't have what it takes. The Commonwealth Games are an irrelevant competition hosted by a provincial city, in a mediocore country.
Mark Mackey, England

London is a smoky old town, creaking under congestion, dereliction and smog. Manchester is fresh, vibrant and so easy to move about in. Plus, we're surrounded by fantasic countryside such as the Pennines, Lake District and North Wales. Britain isn't all black cabs and red buses. Show the world a part of the UK which is new and refreshing to them - and highly capable of staging the Olympics!
Richard, Cheshire

Travelling in London is a nightmare every morning of the week. If the infrastructure can't cope now, how would it cope with the Olympics? At the end of the day, Manchester has done a great job, but why not give it to Cardiff? They've got a good stadium.
George, London

I don't think that the UK has a hope of hosting the Olympics. There is not the commitment within the government to stage such a grand sporting event, you only have to look at how little funding is given to sporting organisations compared to so many other countries in the world.

When you think of the great sporting nations of the world Britain isn't there. Comments around Manchester and London hosting the event don't help either. What about the rest of the country!
Stephen, Scotland

Robert from Australia is right. Britain would have to sort out its public transport infrastructure and invest in new sporting facilities before winning a bid for the Olympics. Remember that Australia introduced a 10% Goods and Services Tax (GST) ahead of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games in order to fund them. Although Manchester is a step in the right direction, there is much more to do.
Robin, England

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Manchester ran a very successful Commonwealth Games, but it should be satisfied to leave it at that
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Ross, Scotland

Oh no, not this debate again. The Olympics are a completely different scale of event to the Commonwealth Games and when there is a fair choice of venue it will always go to a city with a strong and positive international image.

There are only two cities in Britain, London and Edinburgh, that have such a standing worldwide. People need to get the chips off their shoulders and realise that after Sydney, Athens and Beijing, the next Olympics just isn't going to be held in Manchester, Birmingham or any such city.

It's not a question of right or wrong, or of a London-based media, it is just that these places are not seen as stages for a world event by the IOC and never will be. Any such bid would be a waste of time and money, just like the last ones. Manchester ran a very successful Commonwealth Games, but it should be satisfied to leave it at that.
Ross, Scotland

After every international sporting event, Britain thinks it has some God-given right to host the next major one. Take for example the World Cup bid in 2006, which later went to Germany.

England felt that it should be granted to them on the basis that it was the 'home of football' and they would revamp Wembley Stadium, when the reality was that games would still be played in second-rate stadia such as Elland Road and Villa Park (not a patch on those outstanding 20-odd stadia in Korea and Japan built especially for the champioship).

The fact is that the tax-conscious British public would not inject enough money into such a bid and the Games would be a disaster. Besides, your weather is horrific and your dodgy rail service couldn't cope with the stress. A 2012 Olympic bid will be laughed out of the Olympic Committee, just as Manchester was for the 2000 Olympics.
Robert, Australia

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After the Dome sale, Wembley, and Picketts Lock shambles, it is just great to know that we can stage a proper sporting event
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Andrew Powell, St. Helens, UK

Why does Richard Caborn keep going on about London being the only option? How big is our country? If the IOC members wives want to see Buckingham Palace and go shopping at Harrods, London is only an hours flight away.

Manchester, thanks to the Commonwealth Games, has the basic infrastructure in place, a world-class airport and motorway system. London would have to start from scratch. Manchester has surprised a lot of people this last couple of weeks and I think we should have another shot at the Olympics. Well done M2002.
David Goulden, Stockport, England

Congratulations Manchester, you've done us ex-pats proud and shown us anything Sydney can do the UK can do. Whether Manchester or London, we can host an Olympics and it should be a truly UK-wide event.
Paul, UK

Manchester has done the UK proud. After the Dome sale, Wembley, and Picketts Lock shambles, it is just great to know that we can stage a proper sporting event. If we are going to bid for the Olympics it would be sad to have them in London as I cannot see the same friendly and warm reception for the athletes as they got in Manchester.
Andrew Powell, St. Helens, UK

It used to be fashionable to debate as to which is Britain's Second City. Now we know the answer: it's London!
John Hopkins, England

Manchester should host the Olympics and shame on those in the south that thought it would be a disaster. At least Mancunians can get a stadium built.
Steve, UK

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The UK should choose a more compact, value for money venue than London
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Michael Hall,E. Midlands, England

I was a disabled volunteer at the (NSC) National Squash Center in Manchester, and I thought the facility for disabled and able people was so great that I think the head of the Olympic committee should give us the Olympic Games for 2012. I enjoyed so much working at the Games as a volunteer I never wanted the games to end.
Moahmed Patel, Manchester

Britain could pull it off, if it had a bigger stadium...
Robert Langdon, Australia

I attended athletics, badminton and hockey. The finals of the team badminton were on the 'edge of the seat' exciting moments. The great aspects of the Manchester Games were easy access to the multitude of events, value for money in pubs, shops and restaurants plus very friendly people.

London will never offer these advantages to the world visitor because it is too big and is one of the world's most transport-strangled and expensive cities. Travel and costs will be a nightmare. The UK should choose a more compact, value for money venue.
Michael Hall,E. Midlands, England

Manchester and the North West of England have shown that we can stage a great sporting event. Does this prove that London can host the Olympics - no! Give the Olympics to Manchester - it doesn't always have to be the capital city.
Ruth, NorthWest, United Kingdon

Mancunians are walking around this morning with a smile on their faces. I appreciate that the sun has now come out (nice timing!) but the real reason is this: The perception amongst many Mancunians is that the superb event which we have watched avidly for the last 11 days was made in Manchester; not "Made in the UK".

There is, amongst the people I talk to, a sense of relief that the Games went so well, not because it was such a massive undertaking, but because there has been so little apparent support from outside Manchester for the hard work which has been put in.

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London now wants to jump on our bandwagon
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David, Manchester, UK

The British have a long-standing habit of putting themselves down but the constant sniping by elements of the (mainly London-based) media about this supposedly parochial city being unable to cope with an event such as this has led to a siege mentality amongst Mancunians.

This was our event to celebrate the Jubilee, the Commonwealth and sport. London now wants to jump on our bandwagon. Well they shouldn't. How can they when their support for a home city has been so woeful. Come to Manchester. It's a vibrant, friendly city with a vibrant, friendly, welcoming population. The Commonwealth has now discovered what Mancunians have known for years - that "down to earth" is not an insult. Congratulations Manchester!
David, Manchester, UK

As someone who left Manchester at the age of 19 to go to university I must say that the Commonwealth Games made me feel homesick! Praise should go to the athletes, organisers, volunteers and above all the people of Manchester who made the Games special.

It is a real shame that the focal point of the Games, the fantastic stadium, will not continue in its present format. With this country in dire need of a new National Stadium the politicians should be ashamed that the bulldozers will be moving in.
Mark,England

I was only there for this weekend (Rugby 7s and the Closing Ceremony). However, I was very impressed with the organisation. It was a huge occasion and everything seemed to run like clockwork.

I was cynical about the Park and Ride "option" but as we had no alternative but to use it, we did so and it worked very well indeed. I can't fault the organisation of the Games itself and the people of Manchester with whom I came into contact were helpful in the extreme and they can be justifiably proud of their Commonwealth Games. Thank you Manchester!
Carole O'Callaghan, England

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Down Under we love sport of any type and the feeling down here is that Manchester has done a first class job
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Mark,Australia

A total success. We went to the Rugby 7s on Friday and loved every minute of it. Full credit to the fans of all nations who made for such a great atmosphere in the crowd, especially the Australians sitting just behind us, working their way through the stocks of beer and keeping everyone fully entertained.

If anyone can possibly beat Manchester for partying and friendly competition it will be Melbourne in four years time. See you there!
Dan, Manchester, England

What a splendid advert for sport and for the UK. Fair play and good sportsmanship won and the next generation of athletes should be inspired by some great performances by all nations. This really was the friendly games.
Richard Hough,UK

I have never know Manchester to be so alive and excited! The memories of the event will last a lifetime and so will the new facilities available to the people of Manchester. Watching the athletics has inspired me, I know I'll be watching the Europeans! Bring on the Manchester 2012 Olympics!
Daniel C, Manchester, England

Down Under we love sport of any type and the feeling down here is that Manchester has done a first class job, the England team have surpassed our bias expectations and that these Games have done much to support future games.
Mark,Australia

I have to admit to being rather uninspired before the Games began. However, Manchester has blown me away by the crowd's response, not only to the home athletes but also with respect for all the competitors.

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Manchester is buzzing at the moment
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Andy,UK

The stadium looked good and the 38,000 crowds sounded more like 100,000. The hairs stood up on the back of my neck watching our gold medallists responding to the spectators singing Land of Hope and Glory.
Pamela Brooke,UK

It's been a brilliant Games. The Commonwealth is a fantastic competition and I have enjoyed every minute of every event.
Matt Lloyd,Wales

I've been watching the games on TV. I have been really impressed with the facilities in Manchester. It proves that if enough effort and time is put into an event it can be successful. Well done to the city of Manchester.
Dan,England

Manchester is buzzing at the moment. I went out on Saturday night and met loads of really friendly people from abroad who were loving the atmosphere, the games and the city, as a consequence I was late for the 10:30 session on Sunday and had to drive - thanks to the brilliant organisation I didn't get stuck in traffic and it took me less than an hour from Stockport to getting into my seat.

The volunteers are helpful and friendly - how could this event have been done better? I loved the three days I went simply because of the atmosphere and the people - I don't even like athletics but it was quite possibly the best sporting event I have seen.
Andy,UK

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We, as a nation should feel extremely proud to have been able to play host to such a joyous and entertaining spectacle
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Terry,England

This Commonwealth Games in Manchester has to be one of the best and it was as good as Kuala Lumpur in 1998. There's better no better place to hold the first Commonwealth Games of the 21st Century than Manchester.
Graham Carter, Great Britain

Manchester did a superb job in presenting to the world a great Games. Win or lose, competitors and spectatators will go home with smiles on their faces. Hats off to Manchester and its people. Aussie athletes: you made all Australian proud! Cheers to all!
Tina, Australia

Manchester has done a fantastic job by the successful completion of the Games. It has turned out to be a happy hunting ground for India as we have got 32 gold medals.

The English crowds were neutral and they supported all the teams very well. Why can't such an atmosphere be created in the cricket grounds of England?
Vijay A.C.,India

The officials in Manchester proved that they are more than capable of organising such a highly successful event. We, as a nation should feel extremely proud to have been able to play host to such a joyous and entertaining spectacle.
Terry,England


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