Let the Commonwealth 2014 games Begin!! Go Go Glasgow!
The Queen has declared the 2014 Commonwealth Games open after a breathtaking, beautiful and colourful opening ceremony at Glasgow’s Celtic Park.
Rod Stewart performed Rhythm of My Heart prior to the Queen’s arrival, with Susan Boyle singing Mull of Kintyre. The Queen finally arrived in grand style as she was driven into the arena and was welcomed with a huge roar as she stepped out of the car.
The Queen spoke of the ‘shared ideals and ambitions’ of the Commonwealth when she delivered the message which has traveled the world in the Games’ baton relay.
The message, which was kept secret , has circled the globed over the last nine months, since the Queen placed the paper inside the baton which then visited all 71 locations.
There was a moment of humor when Prince Imran of Malaysia, the president of the Commonwealth Games Federation, who was to open up the baton and retrieve the Queen’s speech script, couldn’t complete his mission. The baton just wouldn’t open even as he wrestles with it like a recalcitrant jam jar.
Finally Sir Chris Hoy comes to the rescue and shows him it is a matter of brain, rather than brawn. The Queen looked like she was offering a bit of advice as well as finally the top came off and the script was delivered to the Queen.
In an address directed at all the athletes competing in the Games, she made special reference to the young people of the Commonwealth, saying they are entrusted with its values and future.
Reading the message, the Queen said:
‘At Buckingham Palace last October I placed this message into the specially-crafted baton and passed it to the first of many thousands of baton-bearers. Over the past 288 days the baton has visited all the nations and territories of the Commonwealth, crossing every continent in a journey of more than 100,000 miles.
‘The baton relay represents a calling together of people from every part of the Commonwealth and serves as a reminder of our shared ideals and ambitions as a diverse, resourceful and cohesive family.
‘And now, that baton has arrived here in Glasgow, a city renowned for its dynamic cultural and sporting achievements and for the warmth of its people, for this opening ceremony of the Friendly Games.’
The Queen, in her role as head of the Commonwealth, sent her best wishes to the competing athletes when she addressed the opening ceremony at Glasgow’s Celtic Park. She said:
‘To you, the Commonwealth athletes, I send my good wishes for success in your endeavours. Your accomplishments over the coming days will encourage us all to strengthen the bonds that unite us.
‘You remind us that young people, those under 25 years of age, make up half of our Commonwealth citizens; and it is to you that we entrust our values and our future.
‘I offer my sincere thanks to the many organisations and volunteers who have worked diligently to bring these Games to fruition, and indeed to the spectators here in the stadium and to the millions watching on television. Together, you all play a part in strengthening our friendships in this modern and vibrant association of nations.
‘It now gives me the greatest pleasure to declare the 20th Commonwealth Games open.’
A moment’s silence was held to remember the 298 lives lost when Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine last week. The Malaysian team wore black armbands as a tribute to those who lost their lives.
Only three national stereotypes were omitted from this £20million party. There were no midges, no mention of Braveheart and no rain like it rained during the opening of London 2012. Glasgow 2014 weather however was pleasant and warm.
Given that this is by far the biggest sporting event on British soil since the Olympics, these Games were always going to invite comparisons with that giddy summer two years back. Yet they are a completely different affair, run on just five per cent of the Olympic budget.
Although the Commonwealth comprises two billion people of every faith from 71 nations and territories across every continent, it doesn’t include the sporting powerhouses of China or the US. These Games also split the UK into its component parts. So, there is no ‘Team GB’. Scottish athletes compete against the English under the Saltire. It’s an arrangement which Alex Salmond and his Scottish National Party hope to formalize forever come September’s referendum.
As the fireworks lit up the glorious night sky above a tearful Celtic Park, every Scot could go home feeling proud and emboldened.
Want to see photos from the event? Click here for more exciting photos from the Commonwealth games.