Ozzy Osbourne closes ‘amazing’ Commonwealth Games
Legendary Birmingham rocker Ozzy Osbourne made a surprise appearance to bring the curtain down on a hugely successful Commonwealth Games in fabulous fashion.
Osbourne and his band Black Sabbath received a standing ovation from the 30,000-strong crowd at the Alexander Stadium as they provided a fitting climax to a star-studded closing ceremony.
The 73-year-old ‘Prince of Darkness’ has not performed for several years due to health problems.
“I love you Birmingham, it’s good to be back!” he shouted as he took to the stage to complete the show with the classic hit Paranoid.
The Earl of Wessex, Prince Edward, declared the Games officially closed after the flag was handed over to Victoria, the Australian state that will host the 2026 edition.
“Thanks to the manner, style and enthusiasm with which you competed, officiated, organized and volunteered, you have brought the spirit and values of the Commonwealth Games back to life,” he said.
“You have inspired us and hopefully generations to come; you have also shown what unites us. Thank you Birmingham and West Midlands.”
Earlier, other famous Brummie acts including Dexys Midnight Runners, Apache Indian, Musical Youth, UB40 and Panjabi MC entertained the crowd with classic hits amid a parade of hundreds of athletes competing during the 11 Games days
Team England, who collected a record 176 medals during the Games, were the last to enter the stadium to a euphoric reception from the home fans.
More than 1.3 million tickets were sold during the Games across 24 sports, with organizers estimating that more than 500,000 of these were purchased by West Midlands residents who took the event to heart.
This extended not only to those who attended the sports, but also to hundreds of thousands more who packed the festival grounds at event venues and other iconic locations across the city to enjoy the action on the big screens, meet Perry the Bull mascot and soak up the atmosphere.
More than 4,500 athletes from 72 nations and territories competed in 280 medal events over 11 days, resulting in a series of fantastic feats, heartwarming stories and memorable moments.
With the sun shining for pretty much the entire week and a half in the West Midlands, the weather also played its part and this continued with a closing ceremony bathed in warm evening temperatures.
One of the loudest ovations of the ceremony was reserved for the heartfelt speech of Games organizing committee chairman John Crabtree, thanking the 14,000 volunteers for their efforts and the crowd for their support.
He also praised the seamless way in which disability sports had been integrated into Birmingham 2022, which featured the largest para-sports program in the history of the Commonwealth Games.
“I think Birmingham should be so, so proud, they’ve had an incredible Games,” five-time Paralympic gold medalist Ellie Simmonds, from Walsall, told BBC Sport.
“Sport has the power to change the world and you can see that in Birmingham.”
Closing ceremony to remember
The closing ceremony began with a large chimney rising from the stage, signifying Birmingham’s industrial history and post-war rebuilding, before cult 80s band Dexys Midnight Runners fired up the crowd with a rendition of his iconic hit Come On Eileen.
Birmingham’s multicultural heritage, beginning with the arrival of the Caribbean and Asian communities to the city in the 1950s and 1960s, was celebrated with performances from Apache Indian’s Boom Shack-A-Lak and Musical Youth’s Pass The Dutchie .
This theme of the diverse communities of the Second City continued as reggae legends UB40’s Red, Red Wine was followed by model Neelam Gill who made an appearance during Panjabi Bhangra hit MC Mundian To Bach Ke.
West Midlands musicians including Goldie, Beverley Knight – the soul singer who wore a Wolverhampton Wanderers outfit – and Jorja Smith also performed during the glittering ceremony.
Of course, Birmingham wouldn’t be Birmingham without a nod to the ever-popular TV drama Peaky Blinders via a dance routine, which preceded a powerful segment featuring some of the area’s young musical and spoken word talent that foreshadowed the hopefully bright future.
The handover in Victoria for the 2026 Games, where the host nation promises to deliver the “first true multi-city Commonwealth Games” across multiple cities, was followed by Australian songs and choreography, before Osbourne produced the surprise of the night with the its unexpected ending. .
Appropriate standard-bearers like the stars of the Games take center stage
A fortnight ago, Jake Jarman was a virtually unknown young gymnast preparing for his first major senior championship… four gold medals later, he’s almost a household name in his 20s.
Jarman’s nomination as England’s flag bearer for the closing ceremony not only reflected his leap from obscurity to stardom, but also the unparalleled success of the host nation’s gymnastics at the Games.
The 11 gold medals won by English gymnasts were unmatched by any other sport, with triumphs for hometown favorites Joe Fraser i Alice Kinsella adding to the fervor of the Arena Birmingham crowd.
From Alex Yee stage triathlon gold on the opening morning of the Games, through the emotional rebounds of cyclist Laura Kenny and swimmer Adam Peaty, there were many individual stories.
But the team events provided the same drama, especially England’s exciting 3×3 basketball final triumph in overtime against Canada and the women’s hockey final victory about Australia
In a Games that, for the first time, featured more medals for women than for men, double medalist Eilish McColgan was chosen as Scotland’s standard-bearer after women’s 10,000m champion Laura Muir provided the moments highlights of their nation’s athletic endeavors.
And success in the boxing ring, always a forte for home nations, was reflected in Rosie Eccles and Dylan Eagleson flying the flags for Wales and Northern Ireland respectively.
Some games to treasure for the host nation
Away from the action, the Games captured the imagination of a region and a nation, but were equally successful from a sporting point of view for the host country.
England they enjoyed their best medal tally of the Commonwealth Games of 176, surpassing by two the distance achieved in Glasgow 2014, although the 57 golds achieved were one shy of the 58 claimed eight years ago.
Even that fantastic total was not enough for England to repeat their 2014 feat of topping the medals table as Australia took the honor by virtue of 10 more golds and two more medals overall.
It was a Games to remember for the other home nations as well, with Northern Ireland recording his biggest return of Commonwealth medals and Scotland recording its second highest.
Scotland finished sixth in the medal table with his 51 medals and 13 gold, behind only their home Games with 53 and 19 respectively at Glasgow 2014.
Northern Ireland’s 18 medals and seven golds were both new records, surpassing marks set last century, while Wales enjoyed their fourth best Commonwealth Games with 28 medals.
There was also joy for Guernsey as the Channel Island claimed its first Commonwealth medals in 28 years with Lucy Beere’s lawn bowls silver and Alastair Chalmers’ men’s 400m hurdles bronze .