Summer 2014, and the Commonwealth Games took place in Glasgow. Here are the moments that really made me enjoy them, and why I was surprised about it…
Long time readers will know that I’m a huge sports fan, and have been watching it for a long time – decades in fact. Growing up I used to get excited about the Commonwealths, but for the last few Games, held every four years, I’ve found myself less and less interested.
I had fallen into the trap of thinking of them as a sub Olympics, and with the blanket coverage of sports available, it slipped way down my ‘must watch’ list. I think it was excellent London Olympics plus the BBC’s multi channel coverage that sparked a renewed interest this time, and I thoroughly enjoyed them.
I suddenly found myself fully signed up to the idea that it wasn’t a sub Olympics, because it wasn’t *supposed* to be the Olympics – it is what it is, an event for the countries and territories of the Commonwealth. That’s 71 countries and territories, covering a population of 2 billion.
There is no GB team, as England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland compete separately. For some of the sports, the best in the world might not be there, but for other sports the world’s best *are* there, and for some sports the Commonwealth Games are the pinnacle. So, here are the moments I enjoyed the most…
Swimming – I’m not a massive fan of watching swimming, but was struck by the medal ceremonies of Jaz Carlin, Ross Murdoch and Hannah Miley. Miley won the first gold medal for the host nation Scotland, and as ‘The Flower of Scotland’ started playing, an expression came over her face of surprise that the tears were flowing.
It was lovely to watch, and the same could be seen with Ross Murdoch’s gold and Jaz Carlin of Wales when ‘Land of My Fathers’ started.
Erraid Davies won a bronze in her Para Swimming event, and at 13, she is the youngest ever competitor for Scotland, let alone winning a medal, and her smile was as wide as you could wish, you couldn’t help but smile along!
From the youngest Scottish medallist, to the biggest number of medals for Scotland – Shooter Jen McIntosh has now won more medals than any other Scottish woman at the Commonwealths, taking the record from her mum, and she received her medal on the podium from…her mum, that was nice to see and must have been amazing for them both.
I discovered a new sport to watch – doubles squash. Squash isn’t in the Olympics, so it’s not shown much on TV, but the white ball on the blue glass courts made it easy to follow the (very fast moving) ball!
The new courts allow them to be widened for the doubles version, and I really enjoyed it, almost to the point of wanting to try it. What puts me off trying it, is that’s it well known to be one of the hardest sports on the fitness front – not sure I’d be able to cope!
I’ll finish with 2 stories from English athletes…
Steve Way won no medal, just sneaking into the top 10 of the marathon. The notable thing about him is that 7 years ago he weighed 16 stone and was a heavy smoking heavy drinker with a liking for takeaways. He decided to do something about it, and in his race he broke the long held British record for his age group.
Jo Pavey could be called the nearly woman of British athletics. That would be harsh, but Jo has been known as someone that would go round the laps at the front end of a race, only be to swallowed up by the finishing kicks of others that she could never compete with.
In the 5,000 metres, she held her ground at the front, and kicked at the bell. Down the back straight 3 Kenyans came past her, but she kicked again. They came past her and she kicked again. Taking a bronze medal. Afterwards she said it would have been easy to accept that the Kenyans would beat her, but she simply decided not to accept it.
I liked that, and I liked the Games in all – the ability to choose which sports to watch, live and in catch up, certainly enhance the enjoyment, so roll on 4 years to the 2018 Games in Australia!
Ok, do let me know what you think – did you enjoy it, what were your favourite moments?
‘Til Next Time,
Health & happiness,
P.S. Don’t forget that sport is a passion for many, and a passion you can profit from – my book “FB Passion Profits!” shows you how…