The Victoria 1994 Commonwealth Games - We Are England
The Victoria 1994 Commonwealth Games
Sally Gunnell 1994

The Victoria 1994 Commonwealth Games

England slipped to third but there was good news with gold medals each for three England legends - Mick Gault, Kelly Holmes and Karen Pickering.

Finances caused England woes once again but this time in a different form. Australia's team benefitted from a greater level of investment in its teams and as a result the Games' result was never in doubt - England's rivals ranaway with top spot in the medals table. It was made worse as hosts Canada relegated the nation into third place for only the first time in the Games' 64 year history.

There were a number of positives however that England could look back upon. There were 31 gold, 44 silver and 49 bronze medals to celebrate, and some big names held on to their 1990 gold medals.

Kelly Holmes, later to become a Dame and President of Commonwealth Games England, won the 1500m title on her Games debut. Steve Backley and Linford Christie kept their crowns in the 100m and javelin respectively while Sally Gunnell (top) kept her 400m hurdles gold medal. There was pain once again for Tony Jarrett who retained his silver medal, missing out on the 110m hurdles crown to Colin Jackson once again, who set a Games record in the process.

Tony would have to wait another four years for a shot at the gold he so badly wanted but Rob Denmark wasted no time in getting his gold, winning the first major title of his career with victory in the 5000m. Denise Lewis won the first of her two Commonwealth heptathlon titles on her debut.

Gillian Clark (above), in her farewell appearance at the Commonwealth Games, added two gold medals to her trophy cabinet to take her own tally to five gold, three silver and three bronze. The mixed team and mixed doubles, the latter with Chris Hunt on his debut, were her final titles. Malaysia, the new force in badminton at the Commonwealth Games, were seen off into second place as England shot to the top of the table once again.

With a vast improvement upon 1990 England won six gold medals in swimming. Karen Pickering took two titles from the 100m freestyle and 4x100m relay events, as well as two silver and a bronze to cap a memorable second Games appearance. Mark Foster, also in his second appearance, won his first gold in the 50m freestyle while Martin Harris, Adam Ruckwood and Nick Gillingham claimed the 100m backstroke, 200m backstroke and 200m breaststroke titles.

From swimming to shooting and as one England legend picked up her first two gold medals, Mick Gault made his debut and won one of each - a gold, silver and bronze medal each in the free pistol, centre-fire pistol and free-pistol pairs events respectively. Of the 13 events in cycling Australia won 11 but there was much joy for England as Yvonne McGregor won a highly unexpected gold medal in the women's points race.

Neil Thomas and Annika Reeder were the headline makers for England in gymnastics as they once again defied the superiority of both the Canadians and Australians to win two gold medals each, Thomas adding to his gold and silver four years earlier.

The challenges of a well-funded Australian team were one thing, but in four years time England would have to compete in brand new territory in an uncomfortable climate - the Games were heading to Asia for the first time.