Johanna Griggs and Basil Zempilas gave a scathing review of the closing ceremony. (Twitter: 7CommGames)
Lauded by organisers as “inspirational” and “innovative”, the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games have come to an end with a heavily-criticised closing ceremony, with Channel Seven’s hosts ripping into the event’s organisers live on air.
As the ceremony wrapped up, Johanna Griggs and Basil Zempilas were quick to defend Seven’s coverage amid criticism they did not show vision of the athletes entering the stadium.
The decision meant television viewers were denied the chance to watch inspirational para-sports veteran Kurt Fearnley carrying the Australian flag into the venue.
Zempilas explained it was the decision of the host broadcaster to have the athletes in the stadium before the ceremony began, and the pair called the closing ceremony a great disappointment, saying the decision “wrecked a tradition”.
“We understand many people have been disappointed by tonight’s closing ceremony and to be perfectly honest Jo, so have we been,” Zempilas said.
“It hasn’t really lived up to expectations and I’ve got to say it’s about the only thing they got wrong, but they did get it wrong tonight.”
Griggs hit out at the host broadcasters for not including the athletes in the coverage.
“They made the decision not to have the actual athletes enter the stadium, they made the decision not to show the flagbearers and I’m furious,” Griggs said.
“They’re actually wrecking a tradition that is so important and part of the Commonwealth Games.
“You want to see the athletes come and you want to see them jumping in front of a camera, you want to see them celebrating 11 days of great sport.
“We missed out on all of that.”
Griggs said she had never seen a stadium so empty halfway through a ceremony.
“Unfortunately tonight, the hosts, the organising committee, together with the host broadcasters just didn’t get it right,” she said.
“It was a mistake not to include the athletes coming out into the stadium.”
Gold Coast Commonwealth Games organising committee chairman Peter Beattie earlier stopped short of declaring the Games the best ever, but said they were “innovative” and “inspirational”.
More to come.