It hardly seems possible that almost two years have passed since the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. It was an unforgettable time where we had the chance to witness and reflect upon the power of sport. All across the UK, children and adults alike were inspired by extraordinary people ― giving, sacrificing, accomplishing and celebrating. It was a defining moment.
Fast forward to 2014, and Glasgow is preparing for its chance to shine.
Glasgow is a city that has a history of daring. It is a city ready to change, to enhance its perspectives and grow. Glasgow is a city has shown it has the will to redefine and regenerate in many ways. All of this makes Glasgow is the ideal place to host the XX Commonwealth Games, which will see 4,500 athletes come to Scotland to compete in 17 sports over 11 days. With one million spectator tickets, there will be tens of thousands of visitors and the Games will have a global TV audience of over a billion.
An event of this scale has power, and the Games have the power to:-:
- build world class new sports venues;
- regenerate the city of Glasgow’s east end;
- showcase Scotland and Glasgow to the world;
- change attitudes towards people with disabilities.
It’s no understatement to say that the Organising Committee has been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm the people of Glasgow, the UK and the Commonwealth have shown for our Games. We saw it in the response to our volunteering programme, which broke records with over 50,000 applications. We’ve also seen it in the demand for tickets, with over 2.3 million requests within the first application period. The Organising Committee is hugely grateful to everyone who has shown so much support for the Games already.
In Glasgow we realise that the Games gives us an opportunity to be ambitious. There are 2.3 billion people in the Commonwealth, and 1.2 billion of them are young people. We need to be investing, valuing and believing in them, empowering them. The Queen’s Baton Relay is more than halfway through its journey across continents, and it has encountered so much enthusiasm from young people and their communities. That joyful connection between Glasgow, the Games and the 70 nations and territories of the Commonwealth is something we cherish and never take for granted.
I like to ask people what the Commonwealth means to them. I see it as defining and connecting and giving people a sense of identity. It is not only about where we have been, but about where we are going. This is such a special year for Glasgow and we are proud to be part of Team Commonwealth. Together, we will make 2014 a year to remember.