For Team Scotland and the Commonwealth Games, 2020 was a year of huge milestones and anniversaries and, while the celebrations were a little different than planned, we have enjoyed looking back on 90 years of shared Games experiences and friendship, with many former athletes sharing their memories.
This year we had looked forward to reconnecting with past team members through a series of reunion events, sharing memories and highlights from our Archives held at the University of Stirling, updating the collection and bringing it to life.
As it became increasingly clear that face to face meetings would be impossible, as with other elements of life in 2020, we moved the celebrations online.
The first part of the year saw Auckland’s two Games in 1950 and 1990 celebrating their 70th and 30th anniversaries respectively. The response on our social channels was fantastic, with many getting in touch to share stories and identify friends, former team mates or family members in photos from our archives.
Look back to our celebration of each of the Auckland Games:
This summer also marked a very special anniversary for Scotland as the Edinburgh 1970 Games celebrated 50 years in July. Scotland’s first as hosts were also the first metric Games and the first to be known as the ‘Friendly Games’, a tag that has been proudly carried by the Commonwealth Games ever since. Scotland is now one of only three countries to have hosted the Games three times, (Australia and Canada the other two) culminating in what were acknowledged as the ‘best Games ever’ at Glasgow 2014.
A series of highlights clips of the 1970 sporting action and style of the time, as well as interviews with some of the Scottish stars of the Games generated a huge response online with over 1.5 million views and over 100,000 people engaging with our posts. We were delighted to be tagged on Twitter by the official @RoyalFamily account as they joined in the celebrations, as these also marked the first Games that Her Majesty the Queen attended as Head of the Commonwealth.
If you missed the video clips on our social channels, catch up on our play list here:
In August we marked another milestone, 20 years since the inaugural Commonwealth Youth Games held in Edinburgh in 2000. A concept created in Scotland to celebrate the Millennium, they gave athletes under 18 years of age prior experience before an often daunting international multi-sport Games debut at senior level. The event has proved to be a great success, pre-dating the Youth Olympics, and has grown from 14 countries competing in Edinburgh to now attract entries from all 70 nations and territories of the Commonwealth. Unfortunately the pandemic has resulted in the 2021 edition being delayed until 2023.
The Youth Games has been the ideal introduction to multi-sport Games for a host of international stars and we took a look back at the athletes representing Scotland at those first Games and what they went on to do in their senior careers. Catch up here: Commonwealth Youth Games Celebrates 20 Years
August also marked the 90th anniversary of the first ever Commonwealth Games (then Empire Games) held in Hamilton, Canada in 1930. As one of only six nations to have competed in every Games since, we enjoyed celebrating Scotland’s success over those 90 years, as well as the countless experiences shared and friendships made as part of Team Scotland.
Represented by 15 pioneering athletes participating in six sports at those first Games, Scotland won a very creditable 10 medals and have gone on to win medals at every Games since for a total of 453 including 119 gold.
The Games programme has expanded significantly from those first Games to include 19 sports at the next Games in Birmingham in 2022. From women only having the opportunity to compete in five swimming and two diving events at Hamilton 1930, Gold Coast 2018 was the first Games with an equal number of medal events for men and women and Birmingham will soon be the first to have more medal events for women. In 1994 para-sport athletes first attended in separate non-medal events, but from 2002 the programme has fully included para-sport athletes, the only international multi-sport Games to do so.
For 2020 Sporting Heritage Day on 30 September we reflected on the huge changes that have taken place over 90 years of the Commonwealth Games, from equality and inclusion to rules and technology.
Read more here: Sporting Heritage Day 1930-2020
October saw the 10th anniversary of the Delhi 2010 Games. As well as a day by day recap on social media and videos from some of our medallists recalling sporting action and pranking their team mates, our Chief Executive Jon Doig OBE reflected on his first Games as Team Scotland Chef de Mission, with challenges overcome as staff and athletes pulled together to deliver outstanding performances across the team before, and at, the Games.
Look back on his blog here: Delhi 2010, Jon Doig Reflects 10 Years On
As we entered 2020 the athlete focus was very much on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, little did we know that entering 2021 we would still be looking ahead to those Games.
We continue to be truly inspired by the dedication and resolve of Scottish athletes this summer to adapt their training and focus in an ever changing situation. We wish them all the best for the coming year as they continue to work hard to ensure that they are not only selected, but ready to compete with distinction for Team GB and begin to look ahead to Birmingham 2022. The sporting landscape may not yet be back to what we are all used to, but as we enter the coming year we look forward to continuing to be able to celebrate the success of current Scottish athletes, whose way was paved by our stars of the past.