Difference Between Olympics and Commonwealth Games

The Olympics and Commonwealth Games are two of the most famous sports events that gather the attention of most people all over the world.


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They are events where participating athletes can win medals and heighten the position of their nation in front of the world.

Even though both are sports events, they are different from one another in terms of the sporting events held and the different games each host.

Olympics vs Commonwealth Games

The difference between the Olympics and Commonwealth Games is that while the participating nations in the Olympics have no limits and almost all the nations can be a part of the Olympics, Commonwealth Games have a small restriction regarding the countries that can participate in the events. Only those countries that once belonged to the Commonwealth of Nations can participate in the Commonwealth Games.

Olympics vs Commonwealth Games

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Olympics were the oldest series of games to be introduced to the world and have its roots dating back to the times of the ancient Greeks.

It was initially formed as a sporting event where a selected number of countries participated to check the athletic strength of each nation and to flaunt the victory.

Later on, more countries became a part of the event and now it has almost turned into a worldwide event with enthusiasts from all over the world.

Commonwealth Games came about after the introduction of many other similar sporting events like the Olympics and the number of countries participating is quite small when compared to most other sporting events.

Because of the smaller number of participating nations, the awards and accolades won are limited to the enthusiasts of the participating nations.

There are many sports events included in Commonwealth Games that aren’t seen in other sporting games.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonOlympicsCommonwealth Games
Events for Disabled AthletesHeld at a different timeHeld along with the events of the able-bodied athletes
Number of CountriesHigherSmall number of countries participate
Qualification ProcessHardNot as hard as that of Olympic games
First-Ever Games Held in The Year18961930
HeadquartersLaussane, SwitzerlandLondon, Europe

What is Olympics?

Olympics was introduced in the year 1896 and was initially a small event with a bare minimum number of countries participating.

Later on, as the event started gaining momentum more countries started participating and has gained more popularity and attention from people.

It invites athletes from all over the world with varying levels of skills and talents in different sports events that each of them is proficient at.

All sports events are usually with a small divide for able-bodied athletes and those with disabilities.

These are therefore called Olympics and Paralympic Games respectively.

This divide doesn’t allow the sportsmen and women to socialize with one another and learn different life experiences and livelihoods manner.

This also creates a barrier for the Paralympic athletes as they might feel alienated from the Olympics participants.

Olympics is a game that holds a great amount of pride for the hosting country as each year, it is held by a different nation.

The hosting country makes sure that no stones are left unturned and that the event is made as grand as possible.

The manner the Olympics are held sheds light on the hosting country’s wealth as well as the quality of lifestyle of the people living there.

Olympics events are hard to qualify for as there are a huge number of competitors who are all equally good at what they do.

There are also many hurdles that the participants have to overcome even within their own countries.

The Olympics Games are organized and arranged by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

They ensure that the events are rightly organized and that all the games happen without having any ordeals.

They are the committee that judges which athletes qualify for the events or which all nations can organize or participate in the Olympics Games.

Olympics has over 105 nations that participate in all the games and over 32 nations that are considered honorary members.

Every Olympics game has a huge number of athletes who participate in it and the number can be as high as 15000.

The number of participating athletes can change in each Olympic Game.

Olympics are usually held in two different seasons and are named accordingly.

The two Olympics are the winter and the summer Olympics.

The games are held every 4 years and have been so since the time of its introduction. Each year, there are new mascots that are by the country that is hosting the Olympics.

What is Commonwealth Games?

The Commonwealth Games were started in the year 1930 with much anticipation from the participating countries.

This was an opportunity for the countries that are all on similar ground to prove their efficiency at certain games.

The countries participating in the Commonwealth Games are always limited as there is a restricting bar for the nations.

Only those countries that were once ruled by or were under the control of the British Empire but are now an independent nations can participate in the Commonwealth Games.

Those countries are part of the Commonwealth of Nations and include nations like India, Pakistan, Australia, Singapore, etc.

Only those athletes who are a part of the Commonwealth of Nations can be a part of the Commonwealth Games and can apply for participation and can qualify.

In total, there are about 53 countries that were once ruled by the British Empire and are now part of the Commonwealth of Nations.

The Commonwealth Games include many isolated games such as squashed, lawn bowling, etc.

These games are rare to be held as a part of such a huge competition with a large number of participants.

The Commonwealth Games for the able-bodied athletes and the disabled athletes are all during the same period and are conducted simultaneously.

This ensures equality for athletes of all kinds thereby increasing international cooperation among the participating nations as well as the countries.

The Commonwealth Games are of any value to only the people of the participating countries as it is not a worldwide event.

The head organization for the Commonwealth Games is the Commonwealth Games Federation which has around 53 active members.

It is held once every four years and each game has around 71 teams on average.

Commonwealth Games only hosts around 17 sports and more than 200 events.

Main Differences Between Olympics and Commonwealth Games

  1. While Olympics are held in two parts that are the summer and winter Olympics, Commonwealth Games are held only once.
  2. Commonwealth Games has only 17 different sports that are divided into 250 events whereas Olympics has more than 33 different sports and these sports are divided into 400 events or more.
  3. While Commonwealth Games have a restriction on the countries participating, but Olympics has no such restrictions that can have as many participating nations as possible.
  4. The Paralympics and the Olympics are held at two different times and as two separate events but on the other hand in the Commonwealth Games, both the events for the able-bodied and the disabled athletes are at the same time.
  5. Olympics events are hard to qualify for as it has much more participating nations and athletes whereas Commonwealth Games are comparatively easier to qualify for due to the fewer number of participating nations.
Difference Between Olympics and Commonwealth Games
  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=zU3leVdiM9YC&oi=fnd&pg=PR5&dq=olympic+games&ots=8JjDuJi_Y_&sig=vtDOPjlhQR1vXrqb2usejM1LjZU
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/16184740601154474
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