Australian flag bearer and gold medallist Kurt Fearnley says Commonwealth Games organisers were wrong not to include the arrival of athletes in the closing ceremony broadcast.
Wheelchair racing gold medallist Kurt Fearnley carried the flag for the Aussies on Sunday night, after finishing his career with a gold medal in the marathon, but audiences at home didn't see him lead the team out.
Fearnley told a local radio show on Monday afternoon that the ceremony omission had been disappointing.
"I am sure there are plenty of athletes and parents of athletes from all around the Commonwealth who would have loved to see their guys coming into the stadium and Peter Beattie saying they did get it wrong and, yeah, they did mate," Fearnley said.
The decision to leave the athletes out of the broadcast earned the ire of fans, politicians and even Channel Seven's on-air hosts, sparking an early morning apology from Games boss Peter Beattie.
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But Fearnley also emphasised the success of the Games, which he said had been "the best and most inclusive Games".
"For all the people blowing up, I know you're doing it as a sign of kindness and respect for myself and the athletes, but I will blow up when it's needed," he said.
"I will engage with everyone when there is a real solid circumstances to blow up. When people with wheelchairs get kicked off our airlines, when they are being kicked out of facilities for being fire hazards, when they're not getting access to education, when they are issues with employment, I will fire up and I will grab everyone along with me."
Swim king Mitch Larkin, suitcase bulging with five gold medals from the Gold Coast Games, said he had encouraged other athletes to stick around for an event that was usually "pretty special".
"Walking out last night we were a little bit disappointed, a little bit confused," he said.
"But you know, it is what it is and they tried something different and unfortunately it didn't pay off."
Taking a break from signing autographs for fans on the beach, 200m backstroke gold medallist Emily Seebohm said the ceremony ranked as the worst of her three Commonwealth Games and three Olympic campaigns.
"The athletes didn't really know what was happening. No one really communicated anything," she said.
"I didn't see Kurt at all, which is really sad because you think as the flagbearer you get this huge honour to do such an important role and it seemed like no one really congratulated him on his role of being a para-athlete and being one of the best in the world."
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She noted the closing night was particularly important for swimmers because heavy first-week programs meant they usually skipped the opening ceremony.
"It's a little bit heartbreaking because that was our only chance at doing that," she said.
Beattie said the decision was made to limit the time athletes, many of whom were fatigued from competition, had to wait outside the stadium.
"Having them come into the stadium in the pre-show meant the TV audience were not able to see the athletes enter the stadium, alongside flag bearers. We got that wrong," he tweeted on Monday.
"This decision to bring the athletes into the stadium before the broadcast was operationally driven given there were restrictions on being able to keep the athletes waiting in comfort.
"We were driven by the welfare of athletes."
Beattie also conceded speeches went for too long.
"The speeches were too many and too long. I was part of that and I acknowledge it. Again, we got that wrong," he said. "It is very simple. I should not have spoken."
The former Queensland premier did the rounds on Australian breakfast television taking responsibility and saying he would contact Fearnley to apologise.