Remembering “The Forgotten Games”: A Reinterpretation of the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games

in Sport History Review
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  • 1 Independent Scholar
  • | 2 University of Alberta
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Certainly for me (Jackie MacDonald), it was far and away the biggest event of any sort that I had been involved in until then. The trip from Toronto was the farthest I had ever travelled: Vancouver was beautiful with the mountains in the background; the local population was bursting with pride and enthusiasm for the Games; I was awed by the sight of so many famous athletes and excited by the opportunity to meet participants from all over the world. There were highs and lows of course: on the final day the “Miracle Mile” lived up to all the tremendous hype, but the horrifying spectacle of marathoner Jim Peters staggering, collapsing, then crawling on the track, and unable to finish was a tragic sight. For me personally, winning the silver medal in the women’s shot put with a personal best was the high point, while being scratched from the discus competition was the low point. I was reminded of how thrilling it was for me to be on the Canadian team in 1954 when my husband, our two sons and I went to Victoria for the 1994 Commonwealth Games. Watching the track and field events I was very touched when my older son said: “Looking at these athletes, I can picture you down there competing forty years ago.”

MacDonald is an independent scholar. Hall is with the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Both authors can be contacted through M. Ann Hall, Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, T6G 2H9.

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