Commonwealth Games 2022: Everything you need to know

Close up of Australian swimmers hugging in pool after competing in event

Tianna Nadalin

Posted July 27, 2022

The best of Australia's athletes have landed in Birmingham to remind the world why our nation has won four of the past five Commonwealth Games. Here is everything you need to know about the games, and who to watch out for at this year's tournament.

Australian athletes will be going for gold when the Commonwealth Games kicks off in Birmingham, in the UK, on July 28, with the opening ceremony on Thursday (4am Friday morning AEST).

They will be defending the nation’s winning streak, with Australia topping the medal tally at four of the past five Commonwealth Games, including taking home the most gold (80) and most medals overall (198) at the most recent tournament, held on the Gold Coast in 2018.

They will compete against athletes from 72 teams across 20 different sports, which this year includes beach volleyball and para table tennis and women’s T20 cricket. It’s expected to be a gold rush for Australia, with the nation sending more than 400 athletes, it’s largest overseas team ever.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Commonwealth Games, as well as the athletes to watch out for in 2022. 


Black and white historical photo of athelete at British Empire Games in 1938 doing high jump

Athlete competing in high jump at the 1938 British Empire Games, held in Sydney. Image: State Library of NSW.

History of the Commonwealth Games 

The Commonwealth Games was first held in 1930 as the British Empire Games, and is an international multi-sport extravaganza that pits the 54 member states of the Commonwealth against each other in a battle for the most gold medal bullion. 2022 marks the Games’ 22nd edition.

Since its inception, only six nations have participated in every Commonwealth Games: Australia, Canada, England, New Zealand, Scotland and Wales. Of these, only four (Australia, England, Canada and New Zealand) have each won at least one gold medal every time.

Australia's track record of Games' success

Despite coming in fifth place at the inaugural event in 1930, over the past 21 editions of the Commonwealth Games, Australia has been a star performer, having taken home the gold – literally and figuratively – 13 times. That’s nearly double the number of wins of the nation’s nearest rival, England, who has topped the medal tally seven times.

Victoria announced as host for 2026

Australia has played host to the Commonwealth Games five times, the most of any Commonwealth nation. That trend is set to continue with Victoria confirmed as the host city for the 2026 games, in what is predicted to be a major boon for the state’s coffers. The games will be hosted in four regional Victorian centres - Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo and Gippsland - each of which will have its own athletes' village. The 2026 games follow the success of the 2018 Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast, which added a $2.4 billion boost to Queensland’s economy.


Australian women's netball team posing for podium photo after winning silver at the 2018 Commonwealth Games

Australian Diamonds will be seeking redemption at this year's games after taking home silver in 2018. Image: Getty.

12 athletes to watch at the 2022 Commonwealth Games

Emma McKeon (Swimming)

All eyes will be on eight-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist and two-time Olympic champion Emma McKeon. The decorated pool star is one of the country's most successful swimming exports and is expected to break the record for all-time Commonwealth Games gold medals, eclipsing fellow fish Ian Thorpe AM, Leisel Jones OAM and Susie O'Neill AM, who have 10 each.

Liz Watson (Netball) 

Liz Watson will lead the Australian Diamonds in 2022 after being named the 25th captain for the world number one-ranking netball team. Liz is the most capped player in the squad, with a total of 51 test matches to her name, and is widely regarded as one of the best midcourters in the world. After finishing second on the Gold Coast in 2018, The Commonwealth Games silver medallist is determined to lead her teammates to success in Birmingham. 

Aaron Wilson (Lawn Bowls) 

Aaron Wilson will be bowling for gold in Birmingham after a shirt-ripping finish at the Gold Coast in 2018. The Commonwealth Games gold medallist is only the third Australian to take the top podium spot for the event and, if he takes home-back-to-back medallions, could become the first competitor to retain the title since England’s David Bryant won four in a row between 1962 and 1978. 


Paralympian Madi de Rozario at the Tokya Olympics

Australian Diamonds will be seeking redemption at this year's games after taking home silver in 2018. Image: Getty.

Madison de Rozario (Athletics)

Madison de Rozario OAM (athletics) is a two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist and four-time Paralympic champion. In Birmingham, she is attemping a repeat of her 2018 Commonwealth Games debut success, attempting to take out gold in the women’s marathon T54 and 1500m T54. De Rozario is a paralympic athlete and wheelchair racer currently holds the world record in the Women's 800m T53. She also won the New York City Marathon in 2021, making her the first Australian woman, either in wheelchair or open event, to claim victory in the prestigious 42km course.

Kelsey-Lee Barber (Javelin)

Javelin superstar Kelsey-Lee Barber joins the ranks of the great Cathy Freeman as the first Australians woman to defend a world title in javelin after securing victory this month (July) at the World Athletics Championships in Oregon, USA. The 30-year-old has won medals at each of her past three major championships – world gold in 2019 and 2022 and bronze at the Tokyo Olympics. Barber’s championship-winning throw was short of her personal best (67.7m) but more than two-and-a half metres better than American rival Kara Winger’s silver-medal effort of 64.05m.

Eleanor Patterson (Athletics)

Eleanor Patterson caught the world's attention in 2014 when she won gold at the Glasgow Games, making the then 18-year-old Australia’s second youngest able-bodied individual champion in track and field at the Commonwealth Games after Margaret Parker-Koscik. The high jump star has soared to new heights this week, taking out first place at the World Athletics Championships in Oregon, with her first cealrance attempt of 2.02m equalling the Australian record.

Mack Horton (Swimming) 

It's the return of the Mack at Birmingham 2022, with the Olympic, World Championship and Commonwealth Games gold medallist hoping to freestyle his way into the swimming halls of fame. The men’s 200m free is one of the most competitive events worldwide and, with Kyle Chalmers opting out of the free events at the Australian Trials and World Championships this year, all eyes will be on Mack Horton OAM, who is sponsored by RACV, and fellow swimmer Elijah Winnington to continue the nation's freestyle success. 

Mack Horton in Swimming Pool

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will mark the return of the Mack. Image: Getty.

Evan O'Hanlon (Athletics)

Evan O'Hanlon is a one-hit gold wonder.  He boasts a perfect Commonwealth Games record, winning gold in the men’s T37/38 100m at Gold Coast 2018 – and hopes to make it two from two in Birmingham. This adds to his already shining trophy cabinet, that includes five Paralympic gold medals and eight World Championship golds - the most medals won by an Australian at the world titles. 

Ellie Cole (Swimming) 

Birmingham will be the last hurrah for decaorated swimmer Ellie Cole OAM, one of Australia’s most decorated Paralympians. With 17 medals to her name, including six gold, as well as a Paralympic record, the championship swimmer will make her last splash in Birmingham, 16 years after her first international meet. 

Matt Glaetzer (Cycling) 

After an injury in his early teens put rest to his pole vaulting career, Matthew Glaetzer swapped the pole for the pedal. Now, the dedicated athlete is aiming to become just the third track rider to win three consecutive gold medals in the same event at the Commonwealth Games. Even a thyroid cancer diagnosis in  2019 couldn't slow him down, getting back on his bike just a month after undergoing surgery. 

Alyssa Healy (T20 Cricket)

After making her debut in 2010, explosive wicketkeeper/batter Alyssa Healy has carved out a name for herself as a big-game player. She has played in six T20 World Cups since 2010 and, in September 2020, made her 92nd dismissal, breaking the record for the most dismissals by a wicketkeeper, male or female, in T20 internationals. 

Brenden Hall (Swimming)

Championship freestyler Brenden Hall OAM is hoping to score his second Commonwealth Games gold when he hits the pool in Birmingham. The four-time Paralympian and world championship swimmer has claimed 11 gold medals across the two events. He is also a 21-time Australian champion.


The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games run for nine days from 28 July to 8 August 2022. Catch all the action live on the Seven Network.