Athletes react to exclusion from Games closing broadcast

STAYING POSITIVE: Former Southern Highlands cyclist Kaarle McCulloch was determined to make the best of her closing ceremony experience. Photo: AAP.
STAYING POSITIVE: Former Southern Highlands cyclist Kaarle McCulloch was determined to make the best of her closing ceremony experience. Photo: AAP.

Disappointed, but prepared to make the most of it – that was reaction of one regional competitor to the decision not to include athletes in the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony broadcast.

Former Southern Highlands cyclist Kaarle McCulloch said the feedback wasn’t great in the stadium.

“Athletes were leaving, but I could empathise with them,” McCulloch said.

“I can’t speak for everyone, but I think what happened was we felt like we weren’t getting acknowledged.

“For us [the cycling team], we thought ‘let’s make the most of it’. We picked some balloons and kicked them around. I think you’ve got to make the most of it.

“The best part was going out of the stadium and getting back onto the bus.

BIG DAY: An exhausted Cassie Staples on the podium after the Australian Rugby Sevens women's side won silver at the Commonwealth Games.

BIG DAY: An exhausted Cassie Staples on the podium after the Australian Rugby Sevens women's side won silver at the Commonwealth Games.

“The volunteers were amazing and they were cheering us on.”

However some athletes may have just had recovery on their minds by the time the closing ceremony began.

Former Batemans Bay resident and Rugby Sevens player Cassie Staples got to the ceremony, but was exhausted after winning a silver medal that evening.

“They were very tired after the game,” her father Wayne said.

“They finished pretty late. They played their match, and then the closing ceremony was not long after the medal ceremonies.

“They were totally exhausted.”

Gold medallist and Australian flag bearer Kurt Fearnley says Commonwealth Games organisers were wrong not to include the arrival of athletes in the closing ceremony broadcast.

The wheelchair racing legend carried the flag for the Aussies on Sunday night, after finishing his career with a gold medal in the marathon, but audiences at home didn’t see him lead the team out.

​The decision to leave the athletes out of the broadcast earned the ire of fans, politicians and even Channel Seven’s on-air hosts, sparking an early morning apology from Games boss Peter Beattie.

Cassie Staples in training. The former Batemans Bay resident and rugby sevens international helped Australia to a silver medal in the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Cassie Staples in training. The former Batemans Bay resident and rugby sevens international helped Australia to a silver medal in the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

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