After all the long countdown to the Commonwealth Games – I think they started it at 500 days before the start – the games themselves seemed to be over very quickly. I’m not the biggest sports fan but I’ve always had a soft spot for the Commonwealth Games, ever since they came to Edinburgh way back in 1970. They’re called the ‘friendly games’ and I think that that is really true, in comparison with the Olympics anyway.
The list of competing countries and territories seems almost endless, and it isn’t just ex British colonies which take part, some countries which were part of other empires have opted to join the Commonwealth. I’m not sure why they decided to do that, but it does have the Queen as its head, rather than an elected and often corrupt official.
Anyway, back to the games, four years ago Scotland bagged 26 medals (the highest had been 33 in Edinburgh in 1986) and so the target was to get more than those this time around and they managed that with bells on as 53 medals was the end result. Scotland came in fourth, behind England, Australia and Canada. But it isn’t really the medals which is the important thing, it’s the atmosphere of cooperation and friendly rivalry which it’s all about, with world class sports people competing alongside people who aren’t nearly so good. I love it that people try their best and don’t give up. One runner finished over 4 minutes after the race had been won but he made it to the end and got a huge cheer just for finishing. Also the ‘para’ games run at the same time so those sports have the same crowds. You can see the medals table here.
Best of all though is that the city of Glasgow was well showcased. It’s a place which has suffered from having a really rough reputation, but it’s not any more violent than any other large city and the friendliness of the locals is legendary, and I should know as I’m a Glaswegian myself!
The Games were pronounced to be the ‘best ever’ and I really think that that’s true. I was dying to go to Glasgow to soak up the atmosphere but the thought of all the crowds kept me away.
The opening ceremony overran by 40 minutes, to the horror of the dancers involved, poor souls, some of them were almost on their knees towards the end of it. I’m hoping you can see the video of it all here, dancing Tunnocks Teacakes and all, though that video isn’t available to me. It was the Scottie dogs which stole the show as they led the teams in.