Ten years on – almost to the day – since London 2012 saw British athletes excel in front of full, passionate home crowds, Birmingham 2022 will give the current generation of English athletes their chance to shine on home soil.
In the decade since London, Glasgow has hosted a Commonwealth Games and a multi-sport European Championships, while countless other world and continental championships have taken place in Britain.
The home support brings undoubted benefits to athletes, so what can English – and to some extent Scottish, Welsh, Northern Irish and other Home Nations – athletes look forward to in Birmingham? Kristian Thomas, who competed at London 2012 and Glasgow 2014, tells us.
“Athletes who have competed at major championships before will have already noticed a difference in the build-up to this Commonwealth Games.
“There will likely be an increase in media attention, home nation conflict where your usual GB team-mates may now be competing on opposing teams, an increase in ticket requests from family and friends and generally a greater ‘buzz’ and excitement in the build-up.
“When all the build-up stops and the competition actually gets under way, they can expect an experience like no other.
“When you’re competing at a major championships abroad, there are obviously cultural differences, sometimes a language barrier and you’ve usually travelled across a few time zones, so it’s often difficult to know how your performances – and the event as a whole – are being received at home.
“This will be different. The buzz of the event, the media coverage and the support for you as a home nation athlete will be far greater, and making the most of such a unique experience should be embraced and encouraged, when the time is right.
“During a home games, make sure you have a game plan for such situations and continue to approach your preparation and training as normal, just like any other event.
“At London 2012 the home crowd and support felt like we had an additional member on the team and this benefit can certainly be an added advantage to help fuel your performances. Where and when possible, don’t forget to take a pause and take in the ‘moment’ of competing at a Commonwealth Games on home soil.
“Two years later, at Glasgow 2014, as English athletes we were in the slightly strange position of competing in Great Britain but not being part of the ‘home’ team – something which Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish athletes will experience in Birmingham.
“Nevertheless, in my experience, the crowds were respectful and supportive of all home nations, and despite competing for England in Glasgow, the added number of family and friends cheering in the crowd made it feel just like a home crowd.”