After years of planning by Commonwealth Games Scotland and all the key partners in Scottish sport, the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games saw a truly memorable and successful 11 days of competition in front of packed, world-class venues, with the home crowd roaring Team Scotland on to their best performance ever. A record haul of 53 medals, 19 gold, 15 silver and 19 bronze to finish fourth on the medal table, was just reward for the huge team effort that made the whole of Scotland proud.
Following a magnificent build-up to the Games, Team Scotland fielded its largest team ever, with 310 athletes. The athletes then chose multiple World and European medal-winning judoka, Euan Burton, to carry the Scottish Flag and lead them into the Opening Ceremony of the XX Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on 23 July, to the rapturous applause of the crowd. In an amazing spectacle, everyone enjoyed a night of excitement and pride, setting the tone for the 11 days of world-class competition that were to follow.
Across the 17 sports, Scottish competitors gave it their all, with 10 sports and four out of five Para-Sports contributing to the medal tally. This was backed up by many other outstanding individual and team performances, with new personal bests, Scottish and Games records set.
The Games were full of unforgettable moments from Hannah Miley defending her 400m IM title and the look of sheer disbelief on Ross Murdoch’s face after he touched home for gold on the opening night in the pool, to Kirsty Gilmour taking Team Scotland’s best ever Singles Badminton result and final medal of the Games with silver. Erraid Davies became Scotland’s youngest ever medallist as she took SB9 100m Breaststroke bronze at the age of just 13 and won the hearts of the nation with her beaming smile, while Charlie Flynn was also a crowd favourite with his memorable interviews after he and Josh Taylor claimed gold on the final night of Boxing.
Shooter Jen McIntosh became Scotland’s most decorated female athlete in Commonwealth Games history as she added silver and bronze to her two gold and a bronze from Delhi 2010. Kimberley Renicks took Scotland’s first gold of the Games, swiftly followed by sister Louise, to start a Judo medal rush of 13 medals from 14 athletes, flagbearer Euan Burton also among the six gold medallists. There was a Para-Cycling double gold for Neil Fachie and Craig McLean, while Libby Clegg and Mikhail Huggins took Scotland’s first gold on the athletics track since Yvonne Murray in 1994.
Vio Etko and Alex Gladkov scored Scotland’s first Wrestling medals for 20 years and there was a first ever team medal for Gymnastics as Dan Keatings and Dan Purvis led the men’s team to bronze before going on to take individual gold on Pommel and Parallel Bars respectively. Alex Marshall and Paul Foster lead an impressive four medal haul in Lawn Bowls with gold in both Pairs and Fours. In recognition of his achievements Alex was named Athlete of the Games and selected as closing ceremony flagbearer, bringing an incredible Games to a close.
Five years on the momentum continues, with athletes inspired by those Games as competitors or spectators now making their mark. Within that Glasgow team was a 17 year old Duncan Scott, who would put the experience of a silver medal in the relay to good use in returning four years later at Gold Coast 2018 to win six medals, becoming Team Scotland’s most decorated athlete at a single Games. James Heatly and Grace Reid likewise would call on their experience of Glasgow when winning Scotland’s first Diving medals for 60 years in Gold Coast. Triathlete Marc Austin, having made a courageous break with the Brownlee brothers in 2014, only for the wheels to fall off in the final stages, was back fitter and stronger in 2018, this time leaving the Brownlees in his wake to take bronze. Seonaid McIntosh, in sister Jen’s shadow in Glasgow, took two bronze medals in Gold Coast, also becoming the first British woman ever to win an individual World Championship shooting gold later that year.
In the stands at Hampden a 17 year old Kelsey Stewart stopped Lynsey Sharp on her lap of honour for a fan picture – four years later in Gold Coast they were team mates. John Archibald watched sister Katie win bronze at the Sir Chris Hoy velodrome – four years later they won gold and silver on the same night in Brisbane. Lisa Tobias watched the Weightlifting and decided she had found her sport – four years later she achieved her Team Scotland dream, setting a Scottish record in the 48kg final.
Fourteen athletes and officials given a ‘behind the scenes’ experience as part of the Glasgow 2014 Achieve programme went on to represent Team Scotland at Gold Coast 2018 including boxing medallist John Docherty, gymnastics medallist David Weir, mountain biker Isla Short, netballers Nicola McCleery and Bethany Sutherland, para-swimmer Beth Johnston, hockey player Lee Morton and badminton players Adam Hall and Julie MacPherson.
Scotland proved that it can host fantastic major sporting events and continues to do so, attracting the 2018 European Championships, 2019 European Indoor Athletics Championships and 2019 Solheim Cup to name just a few. An army of Clydesiders continue to volunteer at sporting events across Scotland and, with equipment from Glasgow 2014 still benefiting athletes and clubs across the country and record membership numbers in many sports, the legacy of the ‘best Games ever’ lives on.