1966 Commonwealth Games
(British Empire and Commonwealth Games)
Problems at the Games
The Games were plagued by a variety of problems. Because of extreme traffic gridlock around Independence Park, many athletes were late or weren't able to arrive for the Opening Ceremony at all.
John Coker (Sierra Leone) was scratched from competing in the boxing competition because there were no gloves in Jamaica to fit him. He had extraordinarily long thumbs and there wasn't enough time to make new ones to fit him.
Even routine activities had unexpected problems. Wendel Mottley (Trinidad) took Gold in the Men's 440 yards, but refused to take the winner's podium. It seems a broken rope prevented the Trinidad and Tobago flag from being raised. The presentation had to be delayed until the following day.
In cycling's 120-mile road race, athletes faced a variety of hazards. There were roads full of pot holes and obstacles such as chickens, goats, pigs and dogs to be avoided. Heavy downpour in the mountains brought down leaves and twigs over the roads causing eleven riders to skid out of control. Only seventeen from a field of forty-three finished the race.
Low Debt for Jamaica Hosting the Commonwealth Games
Although the Games had more than its share of problems, it should be noted that the population of Jamaica in 1966 was only 1.5 million people. Compared to the larger and wealthier nations, Jamaica did a fine job without putting its people in debt. The Games cost Jamaica £406,469 to run, but only had a deficit of £1730 ... an impressive accomplishment.
A 10 year old Jamaican diver, Betsy Sullivan, was the youngest athlete. The oldest was Charles Sexton (England) at 59 who won Gold in the .22 free pistol event. And the decathlon appeared for the first time as an event at the Games. For the 1966 Games, there were 110 events in 10 sports.
The Opening and Closing Ceremonies as well as track and field, cycling and other events were held at the National Stadium. It was built four years earlier to commemorate Jamaica's independence and was officially opened by Princess Margaret.
Top 22 Countries By Total Medals
Dual bronzes were awarded in 10 divisions of boxing. Host country listed in bold, Australia in green.
Countries attending the games were: Antigua, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, British Honduras, Canada Ceylon, England, Fiji, Ghana, Gibraltar, Guyana, India, Isle of Man, Jamaica, Jersey, Kenya, Malaysia, Mauritius, New Zealand Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Pakistan, Papua & New Guinea, Scotland, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Arabia, St Vincent, Tanzania, Trinidad & Tobago, Uganda, Wales