Commonwealth Games: Sport wins at the end of the day- the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh
WERE these then, in purely sporting terms, the devalued Games of the much reduced Commonwealth? Or did the competitors of all sports prove by their performances that not even a boycott of such proportions can halt the pursuit of excellence? I think, overall, the verdict comes down in the latter's favour.
Of course it was bizarre that a Welsh doctor should receive a silver medal just for entering the ring. It was indeed unsatisfactory that there were but three entrants in the flyweight division of the weightlifting.
And there was something terribly sad about four teams contesting the women's 4x100m relay final with one of them, Scotland, looking as though they had never been introduced to one another. Their baton changing would have disqualified them from a pass-the-parcel game at a five-year-old's party.
Yet there were moments of pure gold. Swimming was the least affected sport and the festivities at the pool were a heady mix.
On my count there were no fewer than 22 Games records broken and two Commonwealth best-ever performances recorded. The competition was fierce, the atmosphere as hot as the venue itself, and the crowd entertained themselves with unadulterated elan.
Who will forget the gaunt and gimlet-eyed Victor Davis trying to out-psych the English god, Adrian Moorhouse, first succeeding, then failing, in a duel where the knuckles were always showing.
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Shooting didn't miss the non-starters either. From that mystery world of rapid fires, small bores and skeets, 12 new Games records emerged. Kelly, who else, won the Isle of Man's first shooting medal and all the experts reckoned there had never been such a fine competition.
The organisers were disappointed by the attendances at the Balgreen bowling but not at all by the standards. The bowlers themselves were sometimes forced by the weather to resemble tubes of toothpaste but the spirit was superb.
Scotland found new heroes in the 19-year-old postie, Richard Corsie, and the 50-year-old Hawick housewife, Senga - "It's Agnes spelled backwards, I don't know what my mother was thinking of" - McCrone. Botswana had a ball and they won their first medal, at anything, as did the women's pair from Guernsey.
The roofless cyclists were often reduced to wall-of-water riders but the Australians still managed to come up with two Games records. If this sport is to continue in the Commonwealth Games they deserve proper, not to say safer, facilities.
Badminton missed the Asians but made up for that with many moments of high drama.Scotland's gold medallists, Billy Gilliland and Dan Travers, are superb ambassadors for both sport and country.
Rowing doesn't seem to have caught on a lot in Afro-Caribbean world so the events at Strathclyde Park, where everyone was impressed by the friendliness of the natives, went on with great gusto.
Weightlifting was short in competitors but long in entertainment. One division, the 110kg, produced no fewer than 13 Games records. And there was the mighty Dean Lukin, of Australia, who brought from the Playhouse customers appreciation unrivalled since the visit of Laurel and Hardy.
Even the boxing, shorn of the big-hitting Nigerians, Kenyans and Ghanaians, still managed to produce one standing ovation after another at Ingliston. Wrestling, the Cinderella of the Games which will be left at home next time, was hugely enjoyed by folk who knew nothing beyond Big Daddy.
Which brings us back to the showpiece, the track and field events. Nine Games records doesn't sound a lot but those who sat every day at refrigerated Meadowbank will appreciate what achievements these were.
Undoubtedly Steve Cram was the man of the Games, the happiest shot of all him signing autographs for a huge line of youngsters at the end of the closing ceremony. I didn't notice Daley Thompson doing the same. Tessa Sanderson comes next for winning the most bitterly-contested event, then our own personalised pencil, Liz Lynch.
Nobody in the world would have beaten Cram in the 800m but the Kenyans, the Nigerians and the Jamaicans were sad truants from so many events. The athletics, in truth, were patchy.
Having said all that, the Edinburgh crowd were captivated and loyal to the end. I have never in my life seen 10,000 people sitting in the pouring rain, as they did on Thursday for several hours, uncomplainingly waiting for something to happen.
"Stop writing that we are bored," I was commanded by a charming lady at a reception on Friday night. "We are having a wonderful time." You cannot devalue that spirit.
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