Why don't athletes sing 'God Save The Queen' at the Commonwealth Games?

Joshua Rogers July 29, 2022
Why don't athletes sing 'God Save The Queen' at the Commonwealth Games?
Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Why don’t athletes sing ‘God Save The Queen’ at the Commonwealth Games and what do they sing instead?

The Commonwealth Games are here with the prestigious event taking place from Thursday 28 July to Monday 8 August, live from Alexander Stadium, Birmingham.

Like the Olympics and Paralympics, the Commonwealth Games is a multi-sport event that only happens once every four years.

However, unlike the Olympics and Paralympics, the Commonwealth Games only includes athletes from Great Britain and the Commonwealth of Nations.

These are made up of mostly former British colonies, and include countries such as Australia, Canada, Jamaica, South Africa, as well as the countries in the UK (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland).

Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images

Athletes don’t sing ‘God Save The Queen’ at Commonwealth Games

At most international sporting events, the England teams sings God Save The Queen before they begin their respective sports.

However, the Commonwealth Games is slightly different, and God Save The Queen isn’t used. This is rather surprising as The Queen is naturally closely tied to the Commonwealth and the countries in it.

The Queen was 26 years old when she became Head of the Commonwealth in 1952. She is personally responsible for reinforcing the links by which the Commonwealth joins people together from around the world.

Her Majesty is also Patron of the Commonwealth Games Federation.

Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images for Commonwealth Games Federation / Birmingham 2022

Why isn’t it sung and what do they sing instead?

The reason why God Save The Queen isn’t sung at the Commonwealth Games is rather simple. It’s because in 2010 Team England conducted a public vote to decide what should be sung during medal ceremonies.

God Save The Queen came in second place to Jerusalem (which had a 52% majority), which is sung instead. Jerusalem has been used ever since.

According to The Sun, this fact isn’t widely known. The paper reports that a study showed that despite being chosen by a public vote, just 13 % of the 2,000 adults asked knew Jerusalem was the Commonwealth anthem.

Furthermore, more than four in 10 also admitted that they would struggle to sing along to the lyrics.

Per The Independent: “Jerusalem is an adaptation of William Blake’s poem “And Did Those Feet in Ancient Times”, taken from the preface to his two-part epic verse Milton of 1804, which was set to music by Sir Hubert Parry in 1916 in a bid to lift spirits in the midst of the First World War.

Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

People reacted to Jerusalem being played

Fans watching the Commonwealth Games got the first rendition of this event’s Jerusalem during Alex Yee’s medal ceremony. The 24-year-old won gold in the Men’s Triathlon earlier in the day (29 July).

People seemed to enjoy it:

What do you think? Are you a fan of Jerusalem or should they sing the National Anthem? Let us know in the comments below!

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Joshua is a senior sports writer with over four years' experience in online writing. He graduated with a BA in Ancient History from The University of Manchester before receiving an MA in Sports Journalism from The University of Central Lancashire. He became a trending writer for a leading social publisher and later spent time covering the 2018 World Cup for The Mirror Online. He then moved to a social marketing agency where he acted as website editor. His specialties on The Focus include F1, tennis, NBA, NFL and combat sports.