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Global issue 12

Inspired by the thrills and successes of London 2012, Glasgow is gearing up to host the Commonwealth Games in commonwealth networkPostscript Keeping the flame alive 2014 when both Olympic stars and new talent will excite with their skill, speed and determination – reigniting the sporting fervour and national pride we all felt this summer At the end of September, I had the fantas- tic, exhilarating and slightly surreal expe- rience of standing in a crowd of hundreds of excited schoolchildren, athletes and dignitaries at the studios of BBC Scotland as we watched a giant thistle zip-wire his way into the midst of a crowd of dancers. Clyde, the cheeky mascot of Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games, was an immedi- ate and genuine sensation. Everyone – kids, parents, sponsors, reporters and BBC staff – loved him. Clyde’s positive reception is a tribute to the creativity and imagination of his crea- tor, 12-year-old Beth Gilmour. However, given that the usual response to sporting mascots runs the gamut from mockery to indifference, the fact that the public were so receptive to Clyde is in part due to the success of London 2012. The Olympic Games were such a suc- cess, such a heart-poundingly good thing, that normal scepticism has been suspended. The Commonwealth Games are often described as ‘the friendly games’ Unbelievably, in the midst of a recession of performing in a velodrome named after refurbished, new homes and eye-catching that seems to be dragging its feet more each him. Meanwhile, athletes from across the venues built, and galleries and theatres are day, it’s become cool to be an optimist. For Commonwealth who missed out on Lon- planning a huge range of exciting new arts once, everyone wants to see the bright side. don, or were perhaps too young to qualify, events and performances. All in all, the London 2012 shot some of the world’s will have their sights set on Glasgow as a city’s planning to be the place to be in 2014. leading athletes into the ranks of global su- chance to shine before Rio in 2016. So if you missed out on tickets for Lon- perstars. Team GB’s Mo Farah, Jessica En- As for the Commonwealth’s pre-eminent don 2012, and were cheering on your na- nis, Chris Hoy, Bradley Wiggins and Vic- athlete, Usain Bolt, the question is will tion’s Olympians and Paralympians from toria Pendleton; Australia’s Anna Meares; he want to make an attempt on Namibia’s the edge of your couch, let me offer a sug- Grenada’s Kirani James; Uganda’s Stephen Frankie Frederick’s 20-year-old 200-metre gestion: why not plan your holiday in Scot- Kiprotich; Kenya’s David Rudisha; and, of Commonwealth Record, what must surely land in 2014 and come to the Common- course, Jamaica’s Usain Bolt. be the last challenge left standing for him? wealth Games? See the athletes close up, Commonwealth athletes were stars of If he does, then not just the Common- bring your family, meet new friends from the London games – together they won wealth, but the whole world will be holding 71 countries and join the party. Why not go 179 medals; if the Commonwealth were a its breath. the whole way and register as a volunteer? nation, it would have been beaten only by For me, all this serves to highlight the There are thousands of us working right China in the medal table. All of these ath- unique character of the Commonwealth now to make these the best Commonwealth letes now have a fantastic opportunity to Games. Since the early 1970s, they’ve been Games ever. All we need now are the loud- build on the success of London 2012 and known as ‘the friendly games’ – a title some est, happiest, cheeriest and most enthusi- keep their profiles in the public eye. sports professionals dislike because they astic fans, supporters and spectators, and While we’re pretty much guaranteed a believe it diminishes what is a furiously if London 2012 proves anything, it’s that great festival of sport in Glasgow in 2014, competitive major sports event. I respect- we’ve a good chance of getting them. London 2012 has also meant that for many, fully disagree. Friends can still be rivals af- the stakes are all that much higher. ter all, and it’s a description that accurately Michael Hooper, CEO, Commonwealth Games Australia, for instance, will be looking captures the spirit of comradeship that Federation to dominate Glasgow 2014 and actively shines through the Commonwealth Games. Find out more about volunteering eliminate the home advantage that proved The people of Glasgow are, as Games opportunities at the Glasgow 2014 so powerful in London. Sir Chris Hoy, ambassador Billy Connolly says, “great Commonwealth Games by registering at should he be selected of course, will have partakers”. They can’t wait to welcome www.glasgow2014.com. the pressure not just of a home crowd, but the world. The city’s main square is being globalfourth quarter 2012 www.global-briefing.org l89


Global issue 12
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