A heavy downpour lashed the 35,000 crowd at Carrara Stadium as the beach-themed ceremony began, ensuring a wet start for many in the half-covered arena.
Britain’s Prince Charles and wife Camilla were guests of honour and the heir to the throne officially opened the Games, signalling 11 days of competition featuring 71 nations and territories.
As the ceremony sprang to life, the camera panned in on an Aboriginal family planted in the crowd and a girl with a smartphone. The message on the screen read: “Welcome to the oldest living culture on Earth.”
A scene of a group of friends surfing gave way to a virtual journey through space and time as the stadium was engulfed in a galaxy of stars and warm blue light, followed by a performance of indigenous song and dance.
However, just outside the stadium, about 100 Aboriginal activists protested against what they have labelled the “Stolenwealth Games”, a reference to the plight of indigenous people since British settlement.
After a warm welcome for Charles and Camilla, and the singing of Australia’s national anthem, the stage transformed into a beach scene complete with inflatables, high-fiving sunbathers, macho lifesavers and dancing, bare-chested surfers.
A member of the City of Gold Coast Lifeguards, standing atop a yellow-and-white lifesaving hut, cried “G’day” as 2014 hosts Scotland emerged as the first team to parade in to the arena.
Every team was led into the stadium by a “Nipper” — a young surf lifesaver — gripping a surfboard and wearing heavy sunblock across their noses to complete the look, even if it was night-time.
Later a giant replica of Migaloo, the white humpback whale which has become a symbol of environmentalism in Australia, floated gently into the stadium before the ceremony finished in a blaze of fireworks.
The 21st Commonwealth Games will be the first to have an equal number of men’s and women’s medals events, and a record number of para events — which are held as part of the main programme.
Bullish hosts Australia said the Commonwealth Games will restore the country’s battered sporting reputation on Saturday after a cricket ball-tampering scandal which drew criticism from around the world.
Sport-mad Australia’s image took a bruising after a plot to alter the ball was revealed in a Test match against South Africa, an offence which triggered an outpouring against Australia’s hard-nosed cricket team.
It comes just days before the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast and Peter Beattie, chairman of local organisers GOLDOC, said: “Cricket has obviously damaged our national standing but the Commonwealth Games will restore it, very simply.
“Because the measures that have come in for drug-testing means these will be the cleanest Games, they’ll be friendly Games and at the end of it our reputation globally will be restored.”
Beattie was speaking hours after David Warner, former vice-captain of Australia’s beleaguered cricket team, broke down in tears and apologised for his role in the cheating conspiracy.
Mark Peters, GOLDOC chief executive, said “we are all devastated and gutted” by events in South Africa.
“Everyone in Australia and round the world is working to get back to what the great values are — fair play, equity. It’s winning when you get within the white lines, within the rules.”
In a possible dig at the nation’s cricketers, who have made a string of public apologies, Peters added: “Every time an athlete talks we will see a genuineness and we will see people talking about what’s good around sport.”
Adding to the upbeat message ahead of Wednesday’s opening ceremony — when rain is forecast — Beattie said: “We are ready. Not every event that has been held in the last 100 years has been able to say that, but we are ready.”
Organisers have added an extra 40,000 seats in recent weeks in response to strong demand, they say, after some of the most popular events sold out.
Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry boasts a 92-per-cent accuracy from free throws in the NBA this season.
As good as that is to lead the standings in the league, it’s eight per cent shy of Cue’s – the basketball playing robot.
Toyota created the robot that never misses a free throw, using artificial intelligence to perfectly calculate and execute each shot.
In the video below, the Cue demonstrates its perfect free throws against two Alvark Tokyo basketball players.
Cue was unveiled to the public on March 28.