With the British Empire formally ended, the Kingston Games became the VIII British Commonwealth Games. There was a worry amongst the larger nations that Jamaica’s infrastructure would not enable a successful Games delivery – but this proved to be unfounded. Somewhat controversially, the event programme was also altered for the first time since 1950 with Lawn Bowls and Rowing dropped and replaced with Badminton and Shooting instead.
The Athletics events were held at Independence Park in Kingston, Jamaica. A total of 34 events were contested, of which 23 by male and 11 by female athletes. This was the final Athletics competition at the Games to feature events measured in imperial units, rather than metric units.
Thirty-four nations (including Aden and Saudi Arabia) competed in the Kingston Games sending a total of 1,316 athletes and officials. The nine sports on the programme were Athletics, Badminton, Boxing, Cycling, Fencing, Shooting, Swimming and Diving, Weightlifting and Wrestling.
The 1966 Games in Jamaica also saw HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, officially open a Commonwealth Games for the first time. He was accompanied by his son, Prince Charles (then aged 17), and 14 year old Princess Anne.