Glasgow Welcomes the World

Commonwealth Games logo in George Square, Glasgow, Scotland, UK


Come in, come in, it’s nice tae see ye

How’s yersel ye’re looking grand

Tak yer ease we’ll try to pleese ye

Man ye’re welcome

Here’s my hand.

So with these words Glasgow welcomed the one billion plus viewers across the world to the Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow on 23rd July, kicking off eleven days of world class sports.

Having already had a sneak preview of the dress rehearsal for the Opening Ceremony on Monday evening at Celtic Park I thought it was a spectacular start to the Commonwealth Games.  From the huge cheers received by the athletes to the performances by Susan Boyle, Nicola Benedetti and others, and the thousands of volunteers who made up the cast, it was a warm and distinctive welcome to Glasgow and Scotland.  The colour, energy, humour and spirit of Glasgow and Scotland certainly shone through.

I dare say some of the Scottish in-jokes and Glasgow patter went over the heads of most of the international audience – it was a little ‘panto’ and parochial in places ! – but the blend of old and new (particularly through the music) painted a picture of a vibrant, modern country built on an historic and innovative past.  The highlights for me included:

  • the scottie dogs (woof woof);
  • the support for UNICEF and the children of the Commonwealth and beyond – sharing our common wealth;
  • the inspired “Come in, come in” theme tune (from Andy Stewart’s introduction to the White Heather Club in the ’50s and ’60s).  (And if VisitScotland don’t use this as the strapline for the next marketing campaign I’ll be gobsmacked);
  • Scottish Ballet’s wonderful dancing to Ryan O’Neal’s version of the Proclaimers’ song, 500 Miles;
  • the Red Arrows’ flypast; and
  • the fireworks that lit up Glasgow’s skies;
  • and of course the warm welcome given to all of the athletes – and the Games volunteers.

Well done to the Glasgow 2014 organisers – you’ve done Glasgow and Scotland proud !

I’ll be blogging later about some of the sporting events I’m attending – including mountain biking, boxing and athletics – but to set the scene here’s a little of what to expect.

  • The Glasgow 2014 XX Commonwealth Games will be the biggest event ever to be held in Glasgow with around 1 million tickets having been sold.  Around 100,000 spectators will attend each day with up to 200,000 on the weekends when the free cycling time trial and marathon events are taking place in Glasgow’s city streets.

  • Around 6,500 athletes and officials (including their families) are attending, and 15,000 volunteers are helping to make this a successful and memorable event for the city and for Scotland.

  • 71 nations and territories will take part in the Games over 11 days of competition.  The Games will feature 261 medal events across 17 sports.

  • The Queens Baton Relay has visited all 71 Commonwealth nations and territories before travelling the length and breadth of Scotland on its way to its final destination, the Opening Ceremony.

Glasgow has been gearing itself up for the Games for some time and there’s now a huge buzz about the city.  The organisers have committed to making this the greenest Games ever and there’s a impressive fleet of hybrid buses ferrying spectators to and from the various venues.

Here’s the schedule of what events are taking place when, important information about venues and travel.  Those of you lucky enough to have tickets should have received e-mails from the organisers with last minute information and any updates on the timing of events, but a summary of the updates is also available here.

If you’re after a detailed day-by-day guide to the sporting events you’ll find it all on the BBC Sport website.

Looking for something else to do in Glasgow besides the Games ?  The Festival includes a wide range of music, cultural and visual arts events taking place at different venues across the city (see the full programme).

Feel the need to get out of the city and see some more of Scotland ?  Here’s a good overview of the some of the great places you can visit on day trips from Glasgow.

So come in, come in, welcome to Glasgow and Scotland – and let the Games begin !