'We missed a moment': Bundy athlete on closing ceremony
BUNDABERG'S Taryn Gollshewsky says organisers of the closing ceremony at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games ruined a potential lifetime memory for her.
The Australian athlete, who finished fifth in the women's discus, was one of thousands of competitors shunned by organisers at the end of the Games on Sunday night.
Organisers made the decision to have athletes seated before the ceremony started, depriving them the opportunity to celebrate their 11 days of competition by being welcomed in by the crowd at Carrara Stadium and the 1.5 billion people watching around the world.
Organising committee chairman Peter Beattie said the decision was made to protect athletes' welfare but conceded it was the wrong move and apologised on breakfast TV.
Gollshewsky said it wasn't good enough.
"He's come under fire and rightfully so,” she told the NewsMail.
"We all didn't get our moment.
"He's taken our time to celebrate away and taken away memories that would have been with us for the rest of our lives.”
She also rubbished suggestions that athletes' welfare was at risk, saying if competitors could walk around for two-and-a-half hours during the opening ceremony it should be fine after they finished competing.
But Gollshewsky wasn't going to let the organisers take away her fun.
Others, fed up with the ceremony, took matters into their own hands by leaving the stadium during the proceedings.
Gollshewsky wasn't one of them.
"In the first half-an-hour, 50 per cent of them left the stadium but I stayed until the end,” she said.
"We created our own fun by kicking beach balls and dancing the night away.”
Gollshewsky said she felt sorry for Kurt Fearnley the most, who had the honour of carrying the Australian flag into the ceremony in his final competition appearance.
"He didn't get the opportunity to wave the flag for Australia,” she said.
"He lost the opportunity to celebrate the end of his career, which was sad.”
Gollshewsky hopes the organisers can learn from their mistakes and rectify the situation before the next Games.
For more on Gollshewsky, turn to Page 32.