Two world records were smashed, a world champion was disqualified, the face of the Games withdrew and Bermuda topped the medal table; it was an eventful opening day of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
Australia’s women’s relay swimmers and men’s team pursuit cyclists underlined a classy day of Commonwealth competition on Thursday, carving massive chunks off world records on their way to gold medals.
The world’s No.1 triathlete and a double Olympic champion gymnast also won gold to round out a positive opening to the Games.
It was fun while it lasted for Bermuda’s 64,000 citizens until they were overtaken on the table a few hours later by a pair of weightlifters from India, population 1.3 billion.
But India’s glory was also shortlived, as the evening cycling and swimming finals restored a familiar look to the table with Australia (five gold) and England (six gold) opening the Games as they’re likely to carry on, battling for supremacy.
The quality shone at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre, firstly with Australia’s Mack Horton repeating his 400m freestyle win from the Rio Olympics and then the relay swimmers doing likewise.
Cate Campbell powered home after being led out by Shayna Jack, her sister Bronte Campbell and Emma McKeon to shave 0.6 seconds off the record Australia set in Rio two years ago.
“Every time we do it I say ‘that’s locked away, we are not seeing that for many years’, but it seems every two years there’s a pattern and we keep breaking it,” Cate said.
The host nation also won three gold at the Anna Meares Velodrome, including a men’s and women’s double in the team pursuit.
The men reclaimed pursuit dominance over England in their perennial battle, powering home to clock three minutes 49.804 seconds and smash the mark set by Great Britain at the Rio Olympics by nearly half a second.
Dual Olympic gymnastics champion Max Whitlock was another world power to win gold on Thursday, spearheading England in the men’s team event.
Alistair has won the past two Olympic triathlon titles and Commonwealth gold in 2014, with little brother Jonny claiming two silvers and a bronze.
But after leading the swim and bike legs, both faded badly in the run to finish in uncharted territory back in 10th and seventh respectively.
“It was pretty terrible today,” Jonny said.
They weren’t the only ones to have bad days.
Their countryman Ben Proud and Gold Coast girl Sally Pearson are probably feeling pretty similar.
The face of the Games, Pearson’s hopes of a third successive 100m hurdles Commonwealth gold were dashed when she was forced out by a persistent Achilles injury.
World 50m butterfly champion Proud had been expected to help spearhead England’s quest to topple Australia’s No.1 ranking in the pool but was disqualified from the morning heats for moving on the starting blocks.
“I am in the shape of my life and am gutted to miss out on the opportunity to show what I can do,” Proud said.