Edwin Flack and Connolly Games Sporting and Cultural Exchanges
The Edwin Flack and Connolly Games are reciprocal sporting and cultural exchanges with Casey’s sister city, Springfield, Ohio USA.
This reciprocal sister city sporting and cultural exchange first began in 2000 when a contingent from Springfield, Ohio visited the City of Casey to participate in the inaugural Edwin Flack Games. Since then, a further three exchanges between the sister cities have given communities the opportunity to be closely involved with their sister city community.
The Edwin Flack Games and Connolly Games are named after each City’s first Olympic gold medallist. Competitors are young non-professional athletes aged 16-18 years, however these sporting and cultural exchanges involve all age groups in roles such as officials, coaches, support personnel, first aiders, team managers, chaperones, parents and siblings.
The Edwin Flack Games and Connolly Games give young people the opportunity to compete against each other through a range of sporting disciplines and to experience a different culture. The Games act as an opportunity to learn, understand and accept other cultures from around the world and promote civic pride for young people in a healthy sporting environment.
During these exchanges, contingent members are home hosted by local families and a social/cultural program complements the sporting program. This provides an opportunity to experience and appreciate different cultures by participation in the daily life of their sister city.
The Edwin Flack Games were held in the City of Casey in 2000 and 2006. Coinciding with the 2000 Sydney Olympics, the first exchange involved competitors in over eight sports. In 2006, the Games attracted over 180 athletes from Casey and Springfield who competed in basketball, athletics, volleyball, soccer, baseball, softball and golf. Springfield visitors were also treated to cultural, social and recreational activities with Casey host families and friends.
In 2004 Casey sent a contingent of 89 over to Springfield to participate in the 2004 Connolly Games. Six sports were contested being athletics, men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball, soccer, golf and tennis.
More recently, an 18 day exchange to Springfield saw 34 young Casey athletes and support personnel travelled to the USA to participate in the 2008 Connolly Games in basketball and soccer.
The Edwin Flack and Connolly Games exemplify successful community facilitated and supported projects providing an excellent blend of sporting and cultural experiences, creating links within and between communities, providing a myriad of opportunities for community involvement, promoting cultural understanding and further enhancing sister city relationships.
Casey’s Edwin Flack was Australia’s first Olympic champion. In the Athens 1896 Olympic Games, the first Olympic Games of the modern era, Edwin Flack won the 800 metre and 1500 metre athletic events. Flack was one of the most popular athletes at the 1896 Games and became fondly known as the 'Lion of Athens'.
Edwin Flack owned and operated a dairy farm in Berwick and has been laid to rest in the Berwick Cemetery. A statue commemorating Flack and his athletic achievements stands in the median strip of High Street, Berwick. In perpetuity, Edwin Flack continues to contribute to strengthening Australian identity, pride and community development through a philanthropic fund.
Click here for more information on Edwin Flack.
James B Connolly
American James B Connolly was an inspiration to many athletes around the globe and was the first gold medallist of the modern Olympics. He had been the American amateur hot-step-and-jump champion and record holder before the Olympics and won this event at Athens. Connolly came home a hero but also had little money having paid his own expenses for the Olympic trip. During his life he studied at Harvard University, became an accomplished writer, fought in the Spanish American war and ran for