For the first time at a major multi-sport event, women will compete in more medal events than men, 136 to 134.
The Paralympic Games feature a record of 42 Para-sports events.
On Friday, new sports like women’s Twenty20 cricket, three-on-three basketball, and mixed synchronized swimming will be featured in the live broadcast.
With 1.2 million tickets already sold, it is expected to be the most well-attended Olympic Games ever.
As the home nations will participate individually, British Olympic stars Laura Kenny and Adam Peaty will compete in cycling and swimming for England, while Geraint Thomas, who finished third in the Tour de France, will ride for Wales.
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who just won the 100-meter world championship, will aim to add individual Commonwealth gold to her glittering collection.
Australia’s Ariarne Titmus, who completed the 400m and 800m freestyle double at the Tokyo Olympics, will compete in the pool.
A contemporary Game with recognisable forces in action
In addition to the emergence of new names, new concepts will be proposed.
After ten days of in-person competition, the pitches will be virtual and the battlegrounds will be online. The introduction of esports has divided opinion but will generate considerable attention.
Australia dominated the standings with 80 gold medals and 198 podium appearances on home soil four years ago. England was a distant second with 45 gold medals, followed by India with 26 and Canada with 15.
A Commonwealth with fewer commonalities
After all the duels have been fought and the medals have been awarded, the largest question will be whether Birmingham, Europe’s youngest city with nearly 40% of its inhabitants under the age of 25, has breathed fresh life into an ancient concept.
In March, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were welcomed to Jamaica by Fraser-Pryce and Elaine Thompson-Herah, a double Olympic champion. However, the country’s prime minister, Andrew Holness, has made his desire for independence obvious. And soon.
During that royal visit, shouts of dissent and welcome coexisted. It may persist throughout the Games. Organizers have let athletes “make positive demonstrations of their values” on the playing field and podium, in contrast to the Olympic Games.
Commonwealth and the Games have developed into something unique from Empire after 1930. Athletes from Rwanda and Mozambique, two countries that were never part of the Empire, will compete in Birmingham.
“It does have significance. It may not be what it once was, but it is evolving and changing, and the emphasis on values and what may bring us together is crucial.”
The Olympic Games must continue to evolve, not only to outrun history but also to keep up with the present.
The mission statement adds, “They should be jollier and less severe, and they will substitute the stimulation of unique adventure for the strain of worldwide competition.”
The sporting calendar is currently more crowded than it was a century ago; the World Athletics Championships concluded on Sunday, the cricket season is in full flow, and the Premier League football season begins on August 5.
Does “merry” sport still have a place when grudges and spats sell tickets and subscriptions? In a world of competing bells, sirens, and screens, can any input be deemed “excessive”?
Birmingham will require all of its vigor and vitality, as well as every star to shine brightly.
If so, this could indicate that there is still a place for a peculiar and unusual form of sporting rivalry.