GLASGOW– the city of my birth and presently the venue of The Commonwealth Games 2014.
Clyde, the friendly face on the right, welcomes the world to the city and is the mascot of the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Clyde is named for the River Clyde on which Glasgow is built, and was designed by a 12 old to be representative of the emblem of Scotland – the Scottish Thistle – with a quirky athletic style.
Glasgow has been abuzz as it has readied itself for the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Although not on the scale of the Olympic Games, for many athletes the Commonwealth Games is the pinnacle of their achievement. Amateur and semi-professional athletes alike, with financial backing or not, can enter the games and reach excellent levels.
Many brand new buildings have been created to house the athletes, and suitable arenas have been altered or created for them to perform in. Regeneration projects have been wound into the planning of the new venues around the city of Glasgow, some of which go beyond the city into areas not too distant – for events like cycling which requires outdoor tracks.
The new buildings are substantial and will be available to the general public for generations to come. The funding needed for these projects has been generated in and around Glasgow, most via Glasgow City Council, and other funds have been locally sourced. The money hasn’t come from general UK funding- unlike the hugely expensive London Olympics which Scotland contributed to via the UK London based government.
The Hydro, seen at left, is a multi-purpose venue, seating a realistic 13,000 audience, and will be used for future music gigs/concerts as well as sporting events. During the 2014 games, it has hosted the netball matches and the gymnastic events.
This link can give you much more information about the many new buildings for the games.
Over the decades of the running of the games, they have been called slightly different names, reflecting the different political climates under which they have operated. From 1930 -1950 they were The British Empire Games; from 1954-1966 the British Empire and Commonwealth Games; from 1970-74 they were named The British Commonwealth Games; and since then The Commonwealth Games.
Similar to the Olympics, The Commonwealth Games are held every 4 years but unlike the Olympics there is no Team GB. There are separate teams for Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland. No guesses who I’ll be supporting!
The aim of the games is to ‘ unite the Commonwealth family through sport’ and it’s very encouraging to see that some sports which are particular favourites in Commonwealth countries are listed in the games, but wouldn’t be in the Olympics. Netball and lawn bowls are 2 examples. The Commonwealth Games are referred to as ‘The Friendly Games’ as English is the language used by all and is common to all performers.
6500 athletes and supporting officials from 71 different nations and territories are competing in 17 different sports over the 11 days of the games. As I write this post, it is day 10 of the events. The venues have been jam packed every day with thousands of visitors swarming into the arenas. The results are brilliant. Team Scotland (gives a big cheer!) are sitting at this position as I write at 3 pm UK time. A good score for a country of approximately 5 million people, as opposed to 50+ million in England.The opening Ceremony wasn’t to everyone’s taste, nor is the controversial Team Scotland outfits, but I hope the Closing Ceremony will be spectacular tomorrow night ( Sunday 3rd Aug 2014)
Have a great weekend! I’ve got some events still to watch….
Nancy Jardine writes historical adventures and contemporary mysteries.