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Olympics Games vs. Commonwealth Games: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on February 14, 2024
Olympic Games are a global sports event featuring various sports, while the Commonwealth Games are a multi-sport event for countries mainly in the former British Empire.

Key Differences

The Olympic Games are an international sports competition, held every four years, featuring summer and winter sports. The Commonwealth Games are a multi-sport event, held every four years, primarily involving nations that are members of the Commonwealth.
The Olympics are known for their diverse global participation, with over 200 nations participating. The Commonwealth Games, however, have a more limited participant field, with around 70 nations, all members of the Commonwealth of Nations.
The Olympic Games encompass a wide range of sports, including some not featured in the Commonwealth Games. The Commonwealth Games include sports that are popular in Commonwealth countries, such as cricket and netball.
The Olympics are governed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The Commonwealth Games are overseen by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF).
The Olympic Games are a prestigious global sports event with a wide range of sports and participants, while the Commonwealth Games are more regionally focused, celebrating the athletic talent of the Commonwealth nations.

Comparison Chart

Participant Nations

Over 200 nations globally
Around 70 nations, members of the Commonwealth


Every four years, alternating between summer and winter
Every four years

Sports Included

Wide range of global sports
Focus on sports popular in Commonwealth nations

Governing Body

International Olympic Committee (IOC)
Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF)

Historical Origin

Originated in ancient Greece, modern era from 1896
Began in 1930, evolved from British Empire

Olympics Games and Commonwealth Games Definitions

Olympics Games

A gathering that symbolizes unity and competition among nations.
The Olympic Games are known for their spirit of international peace and sportsmanship.

Commonwealth Games

A sports event featuring athletes from Commonwealth nations.
Athletes from Canada excelled in swimming at the Commonwealth Games.

Olympics Games

A global platform for sports excellence held every four years.
The Olympic Games bring together diverse cultures and nations in a celebration of sport.

Commonwealth Games

An event promoting friendly competition among Commonwealth countries.
The Commonwealth Games are as much about cultural exchange as they are about sports.

Olympics Games

A historic sports competition with origins in ancient Greece.
The Olympic Games have evolved significantly since their ancient origins.

Commonwealth Games

A platform for sports popular in the Commonwealth, like cricket and netball.
Netball, a highlight of the Commonwealth Games, is not featured in the Olympics.

Olympics Games

An event that includes a variety of sports, both team and individual.
Gymnastics is one of the most popular sports in the Summer Olympic Games.

Commonwealth Games

A multi-sport event held every four years for members of the Commonwealth.
The Commonwealth Games showcase the athletic prowess of countries within the Commonwealth.

Olympics Games

A leading international sporting event featuring summer and winter sports competitions.
Athletes from around the world compete for gold medals in the Olympic Games.

Commonwealth Games

An event celebrating the unity of the Commonwealth through sports.
The Commonwealth Games bring together athletes from diverse backgrounds of the Commonwealth.


How often are the Olympic Games held?

Every four years, alternating between summer and winter editions.

What is the symbol of the Olympic Games?

The Olympic Rings, representing the five inhabited continents.

What are the Olympic Games?

A global multi-sport event held every four years, featuring summer and winter sports.

How many countries participate in the Commonwealth Games?

Around 70 nations, all members of the Commonwealth.

Who can compete in the Commonwealth Games?

Athletes from Commonwealth nations are eligible to compete.

What sports are unique to the Commonwealth Games?

Sports like netball and lawn bowls are uniquely featured in the Commonwealth Games.

What is the purpose of the Commonwealth Games?

To foster a sense of community and sportsmanship among Commonwealth nations.

Are professional athletes allowed in the Olympics?

Yes, professional athletes are allowed to compete in the Olympics.

What sports are included in the Olympic Games?

A wide range of sports, from athletics to swimming to team sports.

Can any country participate in the Olympic Games?

Any country recognized by the IOC can participate in the Olympics.

What are the Commonwealth Games?

A multi-sport event held every four years for countries mostly in the former British Empire.

What is the oldest sport in the Olympic Games?

Athletics, particularly track and field events, are among the oldest in the Olympics.

How are the Commonwealth Games different from the Olympics?

The Commonwealth Games are exclusive to Commonwealth nations and feature some different sports.

What is the highest honor in the Olympic Games?

Winning a gold medal is considered the highest honor in the Olympics.

How are host cities chosen for the Olympic Games?

Host cities are selected through a bidding process overseen by the IOC.

Can athletes compete in both the Olympics and Commonwealth Games?

Yes, athletes can compete in both if they qualify.

Do the Commonwealth Games have a winter edition?

No, the Commonwealth Games are held only in the summer.

What is the history behind the Commonwealth Games?

They originated as the British Empire Games in 1930, evolving to include all Commonwealth nations.

What is the significance of the Olympic flame?

The Olympic flame symbolizes the continuity between the ancient and modern Games.

Do the Commonwealth Games have an opening ceremony?

Yes, like the Olympics, the Commonwealth Games feature an opening ceremony celebrating the host nation's culture.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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