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Boycotts and Broken Dreams: The Story of the 1986 Commonwealth Games

The story of 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, when over half of the member nations boycotted the event over the issue of sanctions against South Africa's apartheid regime.

In 1986, Edinburgh hosted the Commonwealth Games for a second time. There were sporting triumphs from athletes who were to become household names such as Steve Cram, Daley Thompson, Tessa Sanderson and Scotland's own, Liz McColgan, winner of the 10,000m gold medal. But these were Games when sport locked horns with politics over the issue of sanctions against the brutal apartheid regime in South Africa. The boycott of more than half the Commonwealth nations brought the Games to its knees. The drama which unfolded placed Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the Queen and flamboyant newspaper mogul Robert Maxwell centre stage in a story that attracted worldwide attention.

1 hour

Last on

Sun 31 Jul 2016 22:40


Role Contributor
Producer Martin Conaghan
Producer Murdoch Rogers


Four contrasting personal stories from the 1986 Commonwealth Games

Revealing how the Edinburgh Games, boycotted by half the Commonwealth, has a mixed legacy