Commonwealth Games 2014: 20 reasons to remember the Games
The biggest name in the world may not have thought much of the Commonwealth Games but try telling that to tiny teenager Claudia Fragapane. Our correspondents Robin Scott-Elliot, Matt Majendie, Kevin Garside and Simon Turnbull pick their moments to saviour from Scotland's showpiece
Brits just can’t get enough
As with London 2012, the Tour de France, the women’s Tour of Britain and now with Glasgow 2014, this is a country that comes out to watch sport en masse. If Australians would bet on two flies climbing up a wall then Britons would turn out to watch them. The most striking level of support was for the huge numbers that turned up to watch the marathon last Sunday morning. These are levels that ensure sporting bodies will keep wanting to stage their biggest events here. Apart from Fifa. RSE
Rudisha is mortal after all
The Kenyan has taken the 800 metres to new heights, his world record at London 2012 the greatest piece of running that Sebastian Coe had ever witnessed. Since then the body has let David Rudisha down, knee surgery writing off 2013. He was just getting back to his best but so too was Botswana’s Nijel Amos, who won the sprint to the line for gold. It paves the way for one of the great running battles in history in future championships. MM
On the right track
Para cyclist Sophie Thornhill is a double world champion and world record-holder in the tandem sprint and time trial. That she took gold for England in the B2 sprint with pilot Helen Scott was no surprise, yet she described the experience in Glasgow as the best of her career. Why? Because she was competing at the same meet as able-bodied athletes. She is visually impaired but does the same as her able-bodied sisters: she trains hard to deliver world-class results. Inclusion is the way forward. KG
It was a knock-out
So there I am in the gym, as you do, first thing in the morning. And no ordinary gym at that. Set out underneath the arches of Glasgow station, ‘Outside In Fitness’ is an old school sweatshop far removed from the ergonomic palazzos we know today. A head pops through the door. “You seen Jimmy?” “No,” says John. “Christ, we’re going to the boxing.” “It doesn’t start for two hours.” “You haven’t seen the queues.” He was right. Typical of this sporting carnival, boxing was banged out every session. KG
Judokas take a tumble
Like the English race-walker Jo Jackson, who won gold in a Commonweatlh Games record time in Delhi in 2010, the Scottish judo squad who racked up a record haul of 13 medals – six of them gold – will be kicking their heels when the next Games comes around. Race-walking was dropped from the schedule for Glasgow 2014 and judo has already been axed for the 2018 Games on Australia’s Gold Coast. The legacy for the likes of flagbearer Euan Burton is a place on the shelf. ST
Sevens is heaven
The whole rugby Sevens experience was like Surreal Madrid coming to Ibrox... Chasing after Billy Ocean’s son, Anthony Bayne-Charles, after he had made his Games debut for Barbados... The 50,000 crowd threatening to raise the rafters with chants of “U-gan-da”... The excellent Scot on the pitch-side mic getting one wee girl to perform a show-stealing highland fling... And the All Blacks almost being beaten by Scotland, then actually losing a Sevens match, the final to South Africa. It was like a two-day Monty Python fest. ST
Squashed but not flat
James Willstrop was not alone at these games in showing the world how to lose like a champion, nor how to commune with the people. Twenty minutes after his epic, five-game defeat to fellow Yorkshireman Nick Matthew in the squash final, Willstrop was folded in a quasi-splits position to stretch out a hip flexor that requires surgery. This is not unusual. The autograph signing session that he was conducting simultaneously was, however. “Don’t worry, just come forward, I can still sign stuff,” he said. KG
Nigerian glove affair
You may not be familiar with Efetobor Apochi. Given the reaction to his quarter-final victory in boxing’s heavyweight division, he must be a legend back home. A man described to me as Nigeria’s director of sport, and around whom there was much fussing, was one of many waiting to greet the victor as he walked from the ring. Their coming together was pure panto, igniting all manner of man-hugging, back-slapping, whooping and hollering, which prompted the stewards to intervene. KG
Wiggo still rules
The sideburns may have become a beard, Team Sky may have left him out of the Tour de France but Sir Bradley Wiggins remains the star attraction of British cycling. So central was he to England’s bid for team pursuit gold – they ended up with silver behind Australia – that team-mate Andy Tennant had to hold all the journalists’ dictaphones as they hankered after Wiggo’s every word after the final. MM
Home not so sweet
Michael Jamieson seemed impervious to the pressure of swimming at a British Olympics two years ago and his silver medal there established him as Scotland’s poster boy for these Games. The Tollcross pool is where he learned to swim, in the neighbourhood where he grew up. His chiselled torso was all over Glasgow. And he failed to cope with the expectation, confessing to unaccustomed nerves in the heats. RSE
Slowly but surely
English sprinters are gradually picking away at the Jamaicans and Americans. Adam Gemili may not have dipped under the dream 10-second barrier but still took 100 metres silver in an impressive field. The strength in depth of women’s sprinting might be even more exciting. Jodie Williams (pictured right), whose London 2012 ambitions were ended by injury, finally delivered on her junior promise to take 200m silver with Bianca Williams (left) taking bronze. No relation – except they’re both very good. MM
Suspend your judgement
Whatever Usain Bolt might think, this was a good Games and there was no shortage of good sport. The city embraced them and the organisation was up to standard. But it is the sport that makes or breaks any Games and while some agreed with Bolt’s reported opinion – and don’t forget there is poor quality in the Olympics too – there were world-class performances, among others, in the pool, in the velodrome and in the gymnastics hall, where Max Whitlock underlined his potential to take on the very best. RSE
Small and perfectly formed
Pound for pound, inch for inch, year for year, you would go a long way to find a better performer than gymnast Claudia Fragapane (left). She is 4ft 6in tall and weighs 41kg. There is no device big enough to measure her mettle. Her performance on the beam to seal team gold for England after Becky Downie came off the apparatus was peerless. She became the first Englishwoman to win four golds at a Commonwealth Games for 84 years with wins in the all-round individual, vault and floor. Her age? 16. Bloody hell. KG
Pool of talent has depth
London 2012 was dire for Brits in the pool without a single gold medal. Last year’s World Championships weren’t much better but now there are signs of a brighter future. OK there were no Americans or Chinese to contend with but there were top quality Australians and South Africans here and the likes of Ross Murdoch, Adam Peaty, Ben Proud and Siobhan O’Connor could make it on to Olympic podiums at Rio 2016. RSE
Brownlee is a bolt
If he were 6ft 5in and a Jamaican sprinter, the world would be swooning over his cool and class. Just because Alistair Brownlee (left) happens to be from West Yorkshire, don’t doubt that he’s cut from the same top drawer cloth as Usain Bolt.
The elder of the two brilliant Brownlee brothers evoked memories of the Lightning Bolt in Beijing as he applied the breaks in the home straight and savoured the winning moment, sauntering across the line clutching an English flag in each hand. ST
Steve knows the way
According to The Victor, the winner of the 1970 Commonwealth Games marathon was Alf Tupper, running as a one man team for Tristan da Cunha. In fact the race was won by Ron Hill, whose childhood inspiration was reading about Tupper. It was Hill’s long-standing British over-40s record that Steve Way broke when he finished 10th in the marathon last Sunday. The former 17-stone couch potato, smoker and heavy drinker is a latter day “Tough of the Track”, as the fictional Alf was known. ST
No silver lining
Michael Jamieson’s thunderous face as he collected his silver medal made it plain that a lesser medal did nothing to ease the disappointment of failing to win. Being satisfied only with gold is part of why athletes win gold – a win-or-bust mentality is key in a champion’s make-up. Judo’s Gemma Gibbons is another who found little solace in silver – much to the bemusement of the BBC Breakfast presenters who utterly failed to grasp how she could not be all smiles after she had come second. RSE
Rutherford’s leap of faith
It was a fluke, they said, he would never repeat it. While Mo Farah and Jess Ennis-Hill were turned into household names, there were question marks about the third gold that Team GB won on Super Saturday at London 2012, by long-jumper Greg Rutherford. His leap of 8.31 metres was the shortest winning distance in an Olympic final since 1972. But even though his length wasn’t huge again, he silenced his critics with a British record and a gold. MM
Not over the hill yet
Amber Hill had to fire last in the shoot-off for a place in the women’s skeet final at Carnoustie. The words of the BBC Radio man at the back of the stand could be heard by all in the arena: “And the 16-year-old has to hit both of these clays to keep her dream alive.” The Berkshire lass held her nerve for five rounds but then suffered a miss. Hill took it on the chin, praising her victorious team-mate Sarah Gray. She will be stronger for the experience. ST
And don’t diss the glaswegians
For a time, Bolt was persona non grata in Glasgow after he reportedly told a journalist the city was “a bit shit”. There was a hefty murmur of displeasure at the world’s fastest man bemoaning his time in Scotland, radio phone-ins questioning the previously infallible Bolt. But Glaswegians are a forgiving bunch. All was forgiven and forgotten by the time Bolt graced Hampden Park at the weekend. MM Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
Farewell the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
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