What is the difference between Commonwealth Games and Olympics?

Olympics was introduced in 1896, while the first edition of the Commonwealth Games was launched in 1930.

Tanishq SharmaAuthor

Updated - 29 July 2022 05:45 PM


The 22nd edition of Commonwealth Games has already begun in Birmingham, while the 33rd edition of the Olympic Games are set to take place in 2024 in Paris. Both the multi-sport events are held every four years but share differences, concerning the number of participating countries, format, sporting events among others.

Olympics was introduced in 1896 and started as a small event with very less participating countries. On the other hand, the first edition of the Commonwealth Games was launched in 1930.

The Olympic Games are headed by International Olympic Committee (IOC) and its headquarters is situated in Lausanne, Switzerland, while the CWG is located in London, England and headed by the Commonwealth Games Federation.

Differences between the Commonwealth Games and the Olympic Games:


The Olympic Games are divided into two categories concerning the able bodied athletes (Olympics) and those with disabilities (Paralympics). It can be further divided into two events based on the time period which are called Winter Olympics and Summer Olympics. Olympics are held for 17 days approximately.

On the other side, Commonwealth Games are organised on the same period for both able bodied and athletes with disabilities. The duration of the Commonwealth Games are generally 10 days.

Participating Countries:

Any country can participate in Olympics, while the countries which were once controlled by the British Empire are eligible to participate in the CWG. A total of 206 countries participated in the Tokyo Olympics 2020. Meanwhile, CWG 2020 features a total of 72 teams. 32 countries are considered as the honorary members of the Olympics, while CWG has 56 members.


The CWG 2022 is set to feature 280 events across 19 sports and more than 5000 athletes will appear for the multi-sport tournament. On the other hand, the Summer Olympics in 2020 featured more than 12,000 athletes for a record 33 competitions and 339 events.

Four sporting events including Lawn Bowls, Netball, Squash, and Tenpin Bowling are included in the Commonwealth Games events but never at the Olympics.

Both these quadrennial multi-sport events are highly popular among athletes across the world with the Olympic Games being more popular than Commonwealth Games. Qualifying for the CWG is considered more difficult but the competitions are less challenging as it features less participants.


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