Now that the spot-fires along the Yarra have
been extinguished, and Delta Goodrem has confirmed she survived the firestorm in
the finale of the Opening Ceremony, the sporting events of the Commonwealth
Games can finally take centre stage.

On day one, there are 11 gold medals up for
grabs. With the MCG still a few days away from being ready for sportspeople,
our attention turns first to the pool where Australia’s lady swimmers are
expected to rake in the gold and lock in our interest for the remainder of the
event (at least, that’s what Channel Nine is hoping).

Libby Lenton will be one of the big
stories, with predictions she’ll swim away with as many as seven medals. There
are those who say that is expecting too much, most notably the coach who helped Susie O’Neill to six golds at the ’98 Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth
Games. Also in the pool, Brooke Hansen will contest the 400 metre individual
medley, and Ian Thorpe stand-in Craig Stevens steps up to the blocks in the 400
metre freestyle.

Another wearing really tight gear and
competing for medals today is Queensland weightlifter Erika Yamasaki, in the
48 kilogram class. Her event is the first in the Games to award a medal.

Then we have the undisputed champions of
body-hugging sportswear, the cyclists. The Meares sisters Anna and Kerrie will tonight
compete for the gold medal in the 500 metre time trial, with world champion
Anna going in as slight favourite. Come bedtime, things could be tense in the
Meares camp, with the sisters sharing a room during the Games.

Continuing the theme of Australians in
spray-on outfits are cyclists Ben Kersten, a medal chance in the 1,000 metre
time trial, and Mark Jamieson is a chance in the 4,000 metre individual pursuit.
Australia’s male gymnasts will twist and turn in their stirruped tight-pants in
an attempt to knock the English off their perch as favourites for gold in the
men’s artistic team final.

If you can’t wait to get home for the endless
repeats of the day’s most exciting moments, the Commonwealth Games website has
up-to-the minute results available here.

Peter Fray

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