The Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games - We Are England
The Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games
Melbourne 2006: Mick Gault

The Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games

England’s Mick Gault made yet more history as the Games went down under for the first time in more than 20 years.

The Commonwealth Games went to Australia for the fourth time as Melbourne followed in the footsteps of Sydney (1938), Perth (1962) and Brisbane (1982) by playing hosts.

In terms of athletes competing and events held it was the city’s biggest ever sporting event. The Games took place between March 15th and 26th 2006.

England, four years on from their impressive showing on home soil in Manchester, took a team of 521 down under and returned home with 36 gold, 40 silver and 34 bronze medals to secure second place in the medals table.

Whilst falling some way short of Australia in the overall medals table, the statistics were very encouraging: England won medals in 15 of the 16 sports and in every team sport, plus more than half of the 348 English athletes were victorious. This was all achieved with just under a hundred fewer athletes than at Manchester 2002 and more than 8,000 miles away.

It was a historic Games for Mick Gault. Already the Commonwealth Games’ most decorated shooter, Mick went on to overtake the great Karen Pickering for medals won by an English competitor.

In recognition of his achievements he was chosen to carry the nation’s flag in the Closing Ceremony. He arrived in Australia with 11 medals and returned with a total of 15.

Eight months prior to the Games, London had been awarded the 2012 Olympics, which provided an extra focus for the nation’s athletes. Many would return from Melbourne with their first taste of an international multi-sports event that might prove useful six years later with Team GB.

Indeed, amongst those making major event debuts was Jessica Ennis (above), who won heptathlon bronze and would go on to become Olympic champion in London. Mo Farah, Greg Rutherford and Victoria Pendleton, all gold medallists in London, also competed in Melbourne.

England’s flag bearer at the Opening Ceremony was diver Tony Ally. Already a double medal winner (bronze and silver in the 3m springboard at Kuala Lumpur 1998 and Manchester 2002 respectively) he added a springboard synchro silver to his tally.

The Games moved on to India with Delhi the next host city.