Clyde, the patriotic and adventurous thistle who will be the friendly face of the Games, made a dramatic entrance as he was unveiled to the world at BBC Scotland’s HQ in Glasgow – located appropriately on the banks on the world-famous river that inspired his name.
He was welcomed on stage by Olympic swimming stars Rebecca Adlington and Michael Jamieson. Along with 150 school pupils from across the city they heard for the first time Clyde’s magical story – as told by actor, comedian and Glasgow 2014 Ambassador Billy Connolly, who narrated an animated film which premiered at the launch.
This was also an extraordinary day for Clyde’s creator, 12-year-old Beth Gilmour from Cumbernauld. Beth won a UK-wide competition, from over 4000 entries, to design the Glasgow 2014 Mascot. On top of her art and design talents, she swims for Cumbernauld Swimming Club, and was delighted to join her swimming heroes on stage at the launch event.
The OC joined forces with the BBC in October last year to run the children’s competition, which was launched as part of the 1000 days to go milestone, with the help of CBBC’s Blue Peter and BBC Radio Scotland’s Fred MacAulay & Co Show.
Beth, who won four tickets to the Glasgow 2014 Opening Ceremony as part of her prize, said:
“I still can’t believe that my entry is now the Glasgow 2014 mascot – it’s amazing to see Clyde come to life and I’m so happy that my design and idea will now be seen by everyone across the world.
“To know that I have played a part in Glasgow 2014 is incredible and I hope everyone across Scotland and the Commonwealth love Clyde as much as I do!”
Beth’s design was chosen for its Scottish symbolism and Glaswegian charm and likeability. Her entry interpreted this much-loved symbol with a youthful energy – embodied by a cheeky facial expression – and strong, sporty thistle arms and legs.
The idea of using a thistle was a strong favourite of the judging panel and Glasgow 2014. The thistle uniquely represents a symbol as much at home in the modern, urban heart of Scotland’s largest city as it is in Scotland’s remote, epic landscapes.
Clyde is also a significant departure from all previous Commonwealth Games mascots, the first time the official mascot has not been an animal, a trend that has continued ever since the first Commonwealth Games mascot for Edmonton in 1978 – a bear called Keyano.
The mascot will be a significant personality in the run up to and during Games Time. He embarks on a national tour of Scotland straight after the launch and will play a major role in many landmark moments on the journey to the Games, motivating young people in particular to make the most of Scotland’s largest ever sporting and cultural event.