The 2014 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony was held at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, holding around 60,411 spectators in total.
The night began with a cultural parade of 71 athletes bearing their respective flags.
David Zolkwer was commissioned to direct the Scottish extravaganza which involved more than 2,000 performers including celebrities such as John Barrowman, Amy Macdonald, Nicola Benedetti and Eric Whitacre. The Ceremony rivalled that of previous Commonwealth Games with its Red Arrow fly past along with a message broadcast from the International Space Station resulting in one billion viewers tuning in throughout the course of the night.
Another unique aspect of the 2014 Games was its affiliation with the charity UNICEF, which had launched a partnership in order “to use the power of sport to reach every child in Scotland and benefit children in every Commonwealth nation and territory”.
The traditional Baton Relay was run by 32 Scottish volunteers nominated for their commitment to help develop the nation’s youth through sport. The Baton was then relayed to Sir Chris Hoy who passed it on to Prince Imran, then President of the Commonwealth Games Federation. After receiving the Baton, The Queen spoke and referred to the “shared ideals and ambitions” of the Commonwealth and the “bonds that unite” its members.
In all, 4,947 athletes from 71 Commonwealth Games Associations competed in 261 medal events and 17 sports throughout the course of the Games.
One of the most prominent concerns with the 2014 Commonwealth Games was the intrusion of the new builds in Dalmarnock. One of the locals said: “They took away our high street, leaving us without any amenities for the last three years, and what have we got to show for it?”
Criticising the trade of a community for industrial profit, many locals believed the Games would prove to have a negative impact on their society. Another person added: “Most local people can’t afford the café either. It doesn’t feel like it’s been designed for Dalmarnock.”
Then first minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond, argued it was “an opportunity to raise our sight as a nation”. He believed it was the perfect televised chance for “the world to see a Scotland that is modern, vibrant and culturally rich and diverse as a nation”. In addition, many reports have concluded that the Games contributed a total of approximately £740 million (£900 million/€807 million) to Scotland’s gross value added. The Games brought in more than 690,000 tourists which consequently benefitted local businesses, it is claimed. Some described the event as “the stand-out Games in the history of the Movement”.
From an incredibly successful summer of sport came some memorable highlights, such as the time 13-year old Erraid Davies took bronze in her swimming event. Her medal came as a shock to fellow Shetland Island friends as Davies had kept her involvement in the Games a secret. Scotland’s Charlie Flynn also claimed a gold in his lightweight boxing class held at the Hydro. In an interview afterwards the 20 year old said he was “buzzing like a jar of wasps”.
Among other records set at the 2014 Games, one of the most local successes was that of Ross Murdoch, claiming gold in the men’s 200 metres breaststroke in a Commonwealth Games record of 2 min 7.30sec. The podium that night was dominated by Scotland after Michael Jamieson claimed silver. In addition, Scotland’s Hannah Miley broke the women’s 400m individual medley record with an astonishing time of 4:31.76.
The Renicks sisters of Coatbridge claimed two gold medals in total. Kimberley Renick claimed Scotland’s first gold, defeating India’s Shushila Likmaban in the 48 kilograms judo final. Following this triumph, later that day, Kimberley’s sister Louise beat England’s Kelley Edwards in the 52kg final.
The Commonwealth Games Closing Ceremony took place at Hampden Park, holding around 51,800 seats with 6.8 million viewers watching worldwide. The visual theme of the night was that of a classic music festival, which included performers, tents and flags in the stadium. Musicians such as Lulu, Deacon Blue and Prides took to the stage to enhance the idea of an “all back to ours” theme.
In a speech reminiscing over the 2014 Games, Lord Smith of Kelvin said: “We’ve welcomed the world to our dear green place and it has been an experience we will never forget. You’ve done us proud.”
In a final comment, Prince Imran jovially mentioned how the summer of sport had been “pure dead brilliant”, a phrase often used by Glaswegians. To mark the handing over of the flag from Glasgow to the Gold Coast, Australia’s star Jessica Mauboy sang her hit song “Sea of Flags” shortly followed by a set-list sang by Kylie Minogue.
Tom Tate, after receiving the Commonwealth flag on behalf of the Gold Coast, said: “We accept this responsibility with great pride and in the spirit of the Commonwealth Games.”
Date Games held: July 23 to August 3
Number of nations represented: 71
Number of competitors: 4,947
Number of medal events: 261
Gold medal standings: England 58; Australia 49; Canada 32; Scotland 19; India 15