Auckland 1990 - Celebrating 30 Years

January 24, 2020

Thirty years ago today the XIV Commonwealth Games opened in Auckland with an Opening Ceremony showcasing a magnificent and moving portrayal of the formation of New Zealand society and culture. Awarded the Games during the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, this was New Zealand’s third time as Commonwealth Games hosts as Auckland became only the second city after Edinburgh to have hosted the Games twice.

As hosts of the previous Games in 1986, Scotland led the way in the parade of nations with flag bearer Richard Corsie at the helm. Corsie, a bronze medallist in the Lawn Bowls Men’s Singles in Edinburgh four years previously, would go on to repeat that feat in Auckland.

It was a Games of firsts with a record 55 nations participating and British Virgin Islands, Brunai, Nauru and Seychelles making their Games debuts. Triathlon and Netball were demonstration sports in Auckland paving the way for both to make their debut as medal sports in later Games – Netball in 1998 and Triathlon in 2002. Judo made its first appearance as a medal sport and became Scotland’s most successful sport of the Games with eight medals including gold for Loretta Cusack in the 56kg event.

Auckland 1990 at a Glance

Nations Athletes Sports Scottish Team Scottish Medals
55 2,073 10 84 Men & 38 Women 22

It was a successful ten days for the Scots with 22 medals (5 gold, 7 silver and 10 bronze) across six of the ten sports, with Rhythmic Gymnastics on the programme for the first time, Scotland fielding a team of three.

Among Scotland’s gold medal winners was Liz McColgan, married since her triumph as Liz Lynch in Edinburgh but still in the same winning form, as she took 10,000m gold for the second successive Games. Boxer Charles Kane lifted the Light Welterweight title, in Shooting Ian Marsden and James Dunlop took victory in the Skeet Men’s Pairs and Willie Wood struck gold in the Lawn Bowls Men’s Fours alongside George Adrain, Ian Bruce and Dennis Love to claim his fourth Commonwealth Games medal across four Games.

Scotland’s Auckland 1990 Medallists

Liz McColgan Gold Athletics Women’s 10,000m
Charles Kane Gold Boxing Men’s Light Welterweight
Loretta Cusack Gold Judo Women’s under 56kg
William Wood, George Adrain, Ian Bruce, Dennis Love Gold Lawn Bowls Men’s Fours
James Dunlop, Ian Marsden Gold Shooting Open Clay Target Skeet Pairs
Yvonne Murray Silver Athletics Women’s 3,000m
Brian Whittle, David Strang, Tom McKean, Mark Davidson Silver Athletics Men’s 4 x 400m Relay
Mark Preston Silver Judo Men’s Under 65kg
Claire Schiach Silver Judo Women’s under 52kg
Winston Swaetman Silver Judo Men’s Under 86kg
Alan Ogilvie Silver Weightlifting Men’s Under 56kg Combined
Alan Ogilvie Silver Weightlifting Men’s Under 56kg Snatch
Liz McColgan Bronze Athletics Women’s 3,000m
Geoff Parsons Bronze Athletics Men’s High Jump
David Anderson Bronze Boxing Men’s Lightweight
Graham Campbell Bronze Judo Men’s Open
Graham Campbell Bronze Judo Men’s Under 95kg
William Cusack Bronze Judo Men’s 71kg
Donna Robertson Bronze Judo Women’s under 48kg
Richard Corsie Bronze Lawn Bowls Men’s Singles
William Murray, Robin Law Bronze Shooting Open Smallbore 50m Rifle Position 3 Pairs
Alan Ogilvie Bronze Weightlifting Men’s Under 56kg Clean and Jerk

The Auckland Games were the first to exceed 2,000 participants and were a huge success with a global TV audience of 300 million. Over the course of ten days of intense competition one world record, 20 Commonwealth records and 72 Commonwealth Games records were set.

Queen’s Baton Relay

The Queen’s Baton Relay had left Buckingham Palace on 24 October 1989 and arrived in Auckland for the Opening Ceremony on 24 January 1990. Uniquely the Baton was split in New Zealand with one half being relayed through the North Island and the other half through the South. On arrival in Auckland it was merged back into one where New Zealand’s three time Olympic and twice Commonwealth Games champion Peter Snell was the final Baton Bearer into the stadium, handing it to Scotland’s own Peter Heatly, then Chair of the Commonwealth Games Federation.

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