Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Aussies Bring the Beach and Bikinis to Open Friendly Games; Prince Charles Reads Message of Goodwill from the Queen

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Aussies Bring the Beach and Bikinis to Open Friendly Games; Prince Charles Reads Message of Goodwill from the Queen

Article excerpt

Byline: Robert Jobson Royal Editor and Lizzie Edmonds in Gold Coast

THE Gold Coast Commonwealth Games began in spectacular style today with a celebration of beach culture, complete with bikini-clad dancers and hundreds of uniformed lifeguards.

Thousands of tonnes of sand had been poured into the middle of the Carrara Stadium to create a beach scene, with a real lifeguard tower brought in to make it look the part.

Australian singer Ricki-Lee Coulter performed Technicolor Love, a song about celebrating diversity, with hundreds of swimsuit-wearing backing dancers. Other actors and dancers sat relaxing on the sand, making sandcastles as she performed around them. At one point, she crowdsurfed on a surfboard while the beach-lovers partied around her.

Australian indigenous culture also featured heavily in the opening ceremony, before the national teams stepped out in an array of colourful costumes.

Fortunately for the spectators, heavy showers relented a few minutes after the beginning of the show.

Prince Charles, attending with the Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Edward, read out a message of goodwill from the Queen, which had been carried to the Games inside a baton, as he officially declared the Games open.

"My wife and I could not be more delighted to be able to join all of you here on the Gold Coast this evening," he told the crowd. "I have been asked by the Queen to represent Her Majesty and to convey the following message to you all."

He read out the letter: "On Commonwealth Day last year, I placed this message into the impressive baton. Over the past 388 days, on its journey from Buckingham Palace to the Gold Coast, the baton relay has passed through every nation and territory of the Commonwealth. I have no doubt that the baton and its carriers have been warmly welcomed by the many thousands of people who have lined the route.

"The ancient stories told by the indigenous people of Australia remind us that, even though we may be half a world away, we are all connected. …

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