Jul 22, 2014, 10:35 AM EST
It is the world’s only event that brings together Usain Bolt and lawn bowlers.
The Commonwealth Games are the biggest summer multi-sport competition outside of the Olympics, held every four years. This summer’s edition is in Glasgow, Scotland. The Opening Ceremony is Wednesday and the Closing Ceremony on Aug. 3.
In between, more than 4,000 athletes are expected to compete across most — but not all — Summer Olympic sports and a few non-Olympic sports, such as lawn bowls (which may be the hottest ticket in Glasgow).
The event does not have much exposure in the U.S. — not even TV coverage — since the U.S. is not part of the Commonwealth of Nations. Instead, the notable countries competing in Glasgow are Australia, Canada, Jamaica, South Africa and the nations that make up Great Britain at the Olympics, led by England.
The BBC has a more detailed day-by-day outlook, but here are sport-by-sport capsules highlighting athletes who might be familiar to the U.S. audience:
Track and Field (July 27-Aug. 2)
Usain Bolt is expected to race for the first time this year in the 4x100m relay, but not any individual races, after a foot injury forced him to pull out of earlier meets. Heats are Aug. 1, and the final is Aug. 2.
He could be joined on the relay by World Championships teammates Nickel Ashmeade and Kemar Bailey-Cole, but missing are the injured Yohan Blake and Asafa Powell, who is just coming back from a doping suspension.
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the Olympic and World 100m champion, is, like Bolt, only expected to contest the 4x100m relay. She could be joined by two-time Olympic 200m champion Veronica Campbell-Brown on the Jamaican quartet.
Individual event stars include Kenyan Olympic 800m champion David Rudisha, the subject of a documentary being aired by the BBC on Tuesday night.
The eyes of Britain will be on Mo Farah, who is slated to attempt another 5000m-10,000m double after winning gold in both events at the 2012 Olympics and 2013 World Championships.
Then there’s the most dominant athlete in track and field — New Zealand’s Valerie Adams, who has won more than 50 straight shot put competitions.
Swimming (Thursday through Tuesday; heats 5:30 a.m. ET; finals 2 p.m. ET)
Americans get the chance to size up the top competition for the Pan Pacific Championships (Aug. 21-24, Gold Coast, Australia). Australia, South Africa and Canada are among the nations that compete in both the Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacs.
The Aussies sent their biggest stars to Glasgow, led by World champions James Magnussen (100m freestyle), Christian Sprenger (100m breaststroke) and Cate Campbell (100m freestyle) and the decorated Alicia Coutts.
South Africa boasts its Olympic champions, Cameron van der Burgh (100m breast) and Chad le Clos (100m butterfly). Canada’s roster includes Olympic and World Championships 1500m silver medalist Ryan Cochrane.
Gymnastics (July 28-Aug. 1)
The world’s dominant gymnastics nations — China, Japan, the U.S., Russia, Romania — aren’t at the Commonwealth Games. So, the focus goes to British gymnasts, who are divided among England and Scotland.
England features four of the five men from Great Britain’s 2012 Olympic bronze medal-winning team – Louis Smith, Max Whitlock, Kristian Thomas and Sam Oldham. The fifth man from the Olympics, Daniel Purvis, competes for Scotland along with 2009 World all-around silver medalist Daniel Keatings.
There is one Olympic team champion in Glasgow, Australian Naoya Tsukahara, 37 and the son of the great Mitsuo Tsukahara, who won gold with Japan at Athens 2004.
Diving (July 30-Aug. 2; finals 6:30 a.m. ET and 1 p.m. ET)
The world’s best divers just finished the biggest meet of the year, the World Cup in Shanghai, but a few reconvene at Commonwealths.
The star is undoubtedly Tom Daley, the 2012 Olympic platform bronze medalist from England. Daley took fourth at the World Cup in Shanghai.
England’s Bradley Wiggins takes part in the Commonwealth Games after not being named to Team Sky’s squad for the Tour de France, which he won in 2012 (along with the Olympic time trial). Wiggins will ride on the track — not the road — in Glasgow, and he will only do one event, the team pursuit on Thursday.
Nov 21, 2014, 8:59 AM EST
“Unbroken” film about Olympian and World War II hero comes out on Christmas.
Nov 20, 2014, 5:34 PM EST
Young Dmitry Melnichenko lost the match, then lost his cool.
Nov 20, 2014, 4:57 PM EST
Olympic ski slopestyle champion uses a chainsaw every day.
Nov 20, 2014, 3:03 PM EST
Vito thought he had what it took to make the Olympic team, but judges didn’t see it the same way.
Nov 19, 2014, 11:30 PM EST
Olympic champion could face the only woman who beat her in the quarterfinals.
Nov 19, 2014, 8:25 PM EST
“I don’t really want to race unless I have a shot at winning.”
Nov 19, 2014, 1:40 PM EST
Her name could be “erased from the list of participants,” IOC president said.
Nov 19, 2014, 11:29 AM EST
Eight stadium events will have morning finals, a first for Olympic track and field since 1988.
Nov 18, 2014, 4:11 PM EST
The IOC will vote on 40 proposed changes to the Olympics in December.
Nov 18, 2014, 4:01 PM EST
Also, Natalie Coughlin said she reached out to Phelps.
Nov 18, 2014, 3:52 PM EST
Four years ago, Michael Phelps’ coach said Lochte was the world’s best swimmer.
Nov 18, 2014, 9:23 AM EST
U.S. has never hosted the World Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
Nov 17, 2014, 4:35 PM EST
Olympic silver medalist’s partner in London was April Ross, who is now with Kerri Walsh Jennings.
Nov 17, 2014, 4:18 PM EST
Both could make history at Rio Olympics.
Nov 17, 2014, 1:42 PM EST
Miller hopes to return one week before the one storied race he has never won.
Nov 17, 2014, 1:16 PM EST
Swede being inducted into Hall of Fame authored one of the iconic Olympic moments in 1994.
Nov 16, 2014, 8:57 AM EST
Sister of New York Jets center was competing in her first World Championships.
Nov 16, 2014, 8:33 AM EST
Ted Ligety well back in first slalom of season.
Nov 15, 2014, 6:59 PM EST
How do Fernandez and Brown’s scores compare across four Grand Prix events?
Kaillie Humphries, Elana Meyers Taylor beat men’s Olympian in first international mixed-gender bobsled race
Nov 15, 2014, 2:52 PM EST
Four-man bobsled is gender neutral this season for the first time.
- Angelina Jolie showed Louis Zamperini scenes of ‘Unbroken’ on hospital bed 0
- Joss Christensen becomes ‘mountain man’ since Sochi Olympics 0
- IOC proposes adding Olympic events, bid reforms 0
- Ryan Lochte: I have no doubt Michael Phelps will come back 1
- Doha gets 2019 World Track and Field Championships over Eugene, Barcelona 2
- Bode Miller out until January due to back surgery 0
- Peter Forsberg and the Olympics 1
- Emotional Bode Miller medals in race that mattered most (61)
- Russian women kissing after relay victory at World Championships causes stir (60)
- IOC drops wrestling from 2020 Olympics (47)
- South Korea filing official complaint over Yuna Kim’s Olympic silver (39)
- Zola Budd, 47, dominates college runners in 5K (33)