Gold Coast - Gold Coast Commonwealth Games chief Peter
Beattie admits organisers botched Sunday's closing ceremony, accepting
criticism that long-winded speeches had fans rushing for the exits while
athletes were largely excluded from the broadcast.
Organizing committee chairman Beattie apologised on Monday
in the face of a barrage of criticism, saying "we got it wrong."
Closing ceremonies of Olympic and Commonwealth Games are
usually much more relaxed than formal openings, focusing on the athletes and
celebrating their achievements.
But the organizers' decision to have athletes enter the
Carrara Stadium before the ceremony began meant television viewers saw little
of the people the closing was meant to celebrate.
In a series of Twitter posts Monday, Beattie said the
ceremony had not worked out as organizers planned.
"We wanted athletes to be part of and enjoy the Closing
Ceremony," he said. "However, having them come into the stadium in
the pre-show meant the TV audience were not able to see the athletes enter the
stadium, alongside flag bearers. We got that wrong.
"The speeches were too many and too long. I was part of
that and I acknowledge it. Again, we got that wrong."
In a later television interview, Beattie said "did we
stuff it up? Yes. Should (athletes) have been a part of the actual ceremony
that was broadcast? Of course. We got it wrong. I can't be more honest about it
"I am not interested in blaming anyone else. We stuffed
it up and I apologize to the viewers and the athletes."
Australians took to social media in large numbers to
criticize the ceremony. In an unusual move, the television rights-holders
Channel Seven joined in the criticism, saying the ceremony "had not lived
up to expectations."
Hosts Johanna Griggs and Basil Zempilas told viewers the
absence of athletes from Channel Seven's coverage was beyond its control.
"People are thinking that Channel Seven has chosen not
to show pictures of athletes or not to show the flagbearer, Kurt Fearnley, or
other flagbearers," Griggs said. "We can only show the pictures that
are provided by the actual host broadcasters. They made a decision not to have
athletes enter the stadium.
"They made the decision not to show the flagbearers.