July 17, 2018
Sports

‘Clearly a stuff-up’: Commonwealth Games boss apologises for closing ceremony

The decision by organisers to leave the athletes' entry to Carrara Stadium out of the broadcast meant viewers missed seeing wheelchair racing gold medallist Kurt Fearnley carrying the Australian flag.

''Look, we understand many people have been disappointed by tonights closing ceremony,'' Zempilas said. ''To be perfectly honest, Jo, so have we. It hasnt really lived up to expectations.''

Griggs, herself a former Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, didn't hold back.

'Im sorry, youre being way too polite,” she said.

''People are thinking that Channel Seven has chosen not to show pictures of athletes or not to show the flagbearer, Kurt Fearnley, or other flagbearers.

Kurt Fearnley carries the Australian flag into the closing ceremony.

Photo: AAP

“We can only show the pictures that are provided by the actual host broadcasters. They made a decision not to have athletes enter the stadium. They made the decision not to show the flagbearers. Im furious.”

Mr Beattie appeared on Seven's Sunrise program on Monday to apologise, having issued tweets earlier in the day.

"The reality was that the athletes came in as part of the preshow, but that wasn't shared with viewers," he said.

"That was clearly a stuff-up. I am sorry, and if I get a chance, I will apologise to Kurt this morning."

He tried to explain the decision of event organisers through his tweets.

"This decision to bring the athletes into the stadium before the broadcast was operationally driven given there were restrictions on being able to keep the athletes waiting in comfort. We were driven by the welfare of athletes," one read.

“We wanted athletes to be part of and enjoy the Closing Ceremony. However, having them come into the stadium in the pre-show meant the TV audience were not able to see the athletes enter the stadium, alongside flag bearers. We got that wrong."

Griggs said the closing ceremony should have been all about the athletes.

“You want to see the athletes come in. You want to see them jumping in front of the camera. You want to see them celebrating 11 days of great sport,” she said.

“We missed out on all of that… Theres no athletes in here. Ive never seen the stadium so empty.''

The part of the closing ceremony that was broadcast included performances from local musicians including Amy Shark, Guy Sebastian, Yothu Yindi, Kate Cebrano and Dami Im.

Mr Beattie said people were understandably angry over the closing ceremony coverage, and ultimately the buck stopped with him.

"I am not interested in blaming anyone else," he said. "We stuffed it up and I apologise to the viewers and the athletes."

With Joe Hinchliffe

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Rachel Clun

Rachel Clun is a reporter at the Sydney Morning Herald. She was previously a reporter with the Brisbane Times and Domain.

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