Games’ villages, be it in the Olympics or the Commonwealth Games, often resemble a mad carousal. As the number of events dwindles by the day, participants are left free to mingle and party the night away in a manner not too dissimilar from college kids or, as Gold Coast 2018 organizer put it, ‘schoolies week”. It’s only natural for the sportspersons to slip into a brief period of raucous energy after sacrificing much of the regular mirth-making in the lead-up to the Games.

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The emphasis on Games reporting is on the on-field action, and rightly so. But beyond the sanctified, all-serious ambience of the arenas lies a world full of fun and frolic- dripping with copious amounts of sex, alcohol and all-night parties. Organizers are well aware of this, making sure to design Games villages such that the residential quarters and the recreation zone are kept separate. Whilst not much is known about the goings-on in Birmingham, the games village in Gold Coast was reportedly a wild place to be in, especially as the Games wound to a close.

The International Zone- home to the Village Bar- was a hive of activity and buzzing with hitherto shackled energy. Although the police beat-stationed next to the bar- kept revellers in check; the instructions were markedly different from the ones given when patrolling the streets. Mark Stockwell, co-Mayor of the 2018 Games Village, suggested the cops take a softer approach to the athletes:

“I have said to the police in the village it’s going to be a lot like Schoolies Week down here. Let’s just look after everyone and look after each other,” as quoted by the Daily Star.

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Mr Stockwell seems to have a pulse on the inner workings of the human mind. He posits that after months and years of intense preparation, anybody would like a few days of unfettered merry-making:

“Once competition is over, I’m encouraging a little muck-up,” he said. “Just a little, you’ve got to be sensible, but you’ve got to have fun…This is the time of their lives and this is a time that they’ll always remember,” he added.

While Covid-19 dampened athletes’ animal spirits in Tokyo, expect a return to type at Birmingham and beyond.