The Commonwealth Games is an international sporting event held every four years, in which athletes from the Commonwealth of Nations participate. The Games were first held in 1930 as the 'British Empire Games', with the most recent being hosted by Glasgow, Scotland, in July-August 2014. The 21st Games will take place in Gold Coast, Australia in April 2018.
The Games opens with a ceremony that showcases the culture and achievements of the host city and country, beginning about 11 days of athletics and other sports. The Games is in some ways similar to the Summer Olympics, but some of the events are different - for example, squash, netball, and lawn bowls are Commonwealth but not Olympic sports. There is no equivalent of the Paralympics; events take place for both able-bodied athletes and those with disabilities. As in the Olympics, gold, silver and bronze medals are awarded for first, second and third-placed contenders.
Participants are united by membership of the Commonwealth and may compete as various territories as well as countries. For example, athletes of the United Kingdom take part not as members of a 'Great Britain' team but as representatives either of one of the 'home nations' (England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland), or a British territory or dependency, such as the Falkland Islands or the Isle of Man. Likewise, the island nation of Niue participates separately from New Zealand, despite shared citizenship.