"Very disappointing": Comm Games organisers break with tradition for closing ceremony

Viewers were hoping to see flag-bearer Kurt Fearnley and the other Games athletes. Source Channel7

Viewers were hoping to see flag-bearer Kurt Fearnley and the other Games athletes. Source Channel7

Channel Seven host Johanna Griggs has hit back at claims the Australian TV network was aware athletes would be largely left out of the broadcast of the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony before it was aired.

GOLDOC made the decision that the athletes would enter the arena during the pre-show, which is not broadcast.

Griggs responded to a report from ABC journalist Tracy Holmes that stated that Seven was briefed 24 hours before the opening ceremony and would have received a minute-by-minute breakdown of exactly what happened.

Many athletes appeared to show little interest in the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony.

Griggs and Zempilas slated the bungled event, with Griggs visibly "furious" by the lack of athletes pouring in to be led by flag bearer Kurt Fearnley. "We made the decision to show it anyway at the back of the ceremony when we realised what a farce the Closing Ceremony was turning out to be".

"If we'd left that briefing room with any indication given to us that no athletes would feature, then of course we would have made other arrangements to capture those moments. But instead we thought we were going to broadcast an innovative and exciting show". Organisers confirmed Channel Seven had a number of representatives at that briefing. She also said that she stood by her original story. They made the decision not to show the flag bearers.

Griggs, however, said the conditions which applied to Seven at the Commonwealth Games were "very different" to anything the network had ever experienced.

The pair also informed viewers that Channel 7 was only permitted to show footage provided by the Games itself, and that the network would have broadcast the athletes' entrance if it were allowed to do so. Should [athletes] have been a part of the actual ceremony that was broadcast?

"When we're not funding people enough to even go to the toilet and feel catered for, that's worth blowing up about".

"I was astounded, I honestly thought she was joking", Ms Bernetzke said.

As a rights holder is entitled to do, Channel Seven had a camera in-field to film the arrival of the Australian team and flagbearer Kurt Fearnley.

Fearnley told SEN 116 Radio on Monday afternoon that the ceremony omission had been disappointing. I'm furious. Actually wrecking a tradition that is so important.

Australia blitzed the medal tally with 80 gold, making it the country's fourth most successful Games, while arch-rivals England had a final tally of 45 golds. "The briefings are to give you an overview of the creative vision of the producers, and find out where they think things need to be explained in commentary", she said.

Backstroke gold medallist Emily Seebohm said the ceremony ranked as the worst of her three Commonwealth Games and three Olympic campaigns. "No one really communicated anything", she said.

Griggs fired off another 20 tweets, including ones blaming the host broadcaster NEP, before her and her co-host Basil Zempilas were tasked with wrapping up the tedious broadcast mere seconds after the ceremony had finished. Griggs, who said she was one of three in a briefing on Saturday morning, said the guide did not mention there wouldn't be "one single shot show of athletes watching the performances".

"Unfortunately tonight, the hosts - the organising committee together with the host broadcasters - just didn't get it right", Zempilas said.

Holmes' article followed widespread scrutiny after Sunday night's coverage of the ceremony failed to include footage of the athletes entering the stadium.

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