Athletes who experienced the incredible atmosphere of Glasgow 2014 were inspired, not just to medal winning performances and personal bests during the Games, but to raise the bar in their future endeavours.
It had been 12 years from the concept, through the bid and to that moment of walking out as the last team at the Opening Ceremony. Walking out into the stadium that wave of noise and emotion just hit you. We always knew Team Scotland was going to have huge support, we knew that there were full crowds but until you stepped out into the stadium to that passionate home support, you didn’t fully appreciate the level of it. You didn’t hear it, you felt it.
That inspiration extended beyond the record breaking 310 athletes on Team Scotland - to those who just missed out on selection and resolved to train even harder, to athletes from sports not on the Games programme and to a whole younger generation determined to follow in their heroes’ footsteps. Nobody who experienced Glasgow will ever forget it and the legacy is already bearing fruit, with the largest ever contingent of Scots on Team GB, including 30 who competed in Glasgow, heading to Rio 2016.
The Games touched so many people in ways that we hadn’t counted on when we first started planning. We were thinking very directly in terms of how great it would be for Scottish athletes to be there and perform – thoughts that had crystallised from when we were in Manchester in 2002 for what was very close to a Home Games, though not quite the same thing. What really made an impact was how much the wider community engaged with the Games, right from the Queen’s Baton Relay with the selection of those 4,000 amazing people who are doing great things in their communities, the 15,000 volunteers, the committed organising committee and Council staff and our team staff. All playing their part with a huge smile on their faces. That was the bit that was like throwing a pebble into a pond – you just see these rings going out everywhere and you can’t actually control where they go and who they touch. So many people interpreted the Games in their own way and so it turned from what was solely a sporting event into a national project, a national occasion that delivered so many different things for so many different people, sport, art, culture, tourism, economic regeneration you name it. Everything and everyone came together.
Commonwealth athletes and medallists are to be treasured and so many of our athletes made a real impact, becoming household names. From Ross Murdoch and Erraid Davies in the pool to Lynsey Sharp on the track and boxer Charlie Flynn, so many of our athletes continue to be a real inspiration. Our hope is that we have more people taking up a sport, or even just being encouraged to continue with the sport they’re doing. If you’re the only weightlifter in your school then that can be pretty tough and lonely but what the Games gave is affirmation that that is important, you can achieve across a wide range of sports and activities. The letters and emails following Glasgow 2014 have been just brilliant saying we’ve changed people’s lives.
Two years on the ‘Hosts & Champions’ Exhibition, celebrating Scotland’s history at the Commonwealth Games, continues to provide inspiration as it tours the country. We’ve celebrated the achievements of the next generation, as Youth Team Scotland returned from the Samoa 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games with 21 medals from 28 athletes, many citing the inspiration they took from Team Scotland at Glasgow 2014. With 66 athletes having made the transition from Youth Games to Commonwealth Games, 36 as part of Team Scotland in Glasgow, we hope to see a large proportion of these young athletes competing at Commonwealth Games in the future. With another Youth Games in the Bahamas in 2017, and preparations well underway for Gold Coast 2018, we’re focussed and ready to go all over again.
We hope that all those people in Scotland who enjoyed following the exploits of Team Scotland at Glasgow 2014 will continue to support us and cheer on our amazing athletes as they prepare to travel to the other side of the Commonwealth and make us proud once more.
Further information is available at Commonwealth Games Scotland.