Glasgow 2014: How the city embraced the Games?

George Square George Square, like so many other places across the city, has been "buzzing" during the Games

"The city is buzzing" is a phrase heard countless times over the past fortnight.

Be it on the train to work caught up among the throngs of excited spectators heading to various sporting venues, from the commentators on the TV and radio, or from ordinary folks just out and about soaking up the atmosphere.

This was billed as the "friendly Games" and boy did Glasgow deliver.

"I can't believe how alive the city is. The vibrancy is quite amazing," says volunteer Alastair MacDonald.

He's one of the red and grey Clydesiders - the faces of the Games - on duty in George Square where visitors, spectators, athletes, volunteers, and locals have gathered over the past 11 days to experience the buzz.

"Everyone is loving it. Everyone is smiling," he adds.

GAMES IN FIGURES

  • Nearly 3.5 million people passed through Central Station
  • More than 50,000 cuddly Clyde Mascots sold
  • About 171,000 attended the Rugby Sevens - a record-breaking number for the sport
  • Well over one million people visited the Glasgow 2014 website each day
  • More than 500,000 people visited the Live Site at Glasgow Green
  • Well over a million mentions of Glasgow 2014 on social networks since the opening ceremony
  • 15,000 Clydesiders volunteered at the Games
  • More than 1,500 paid staff working at the organising committee
  • 30,000 contractors
  • 1,800 Host City volunteers
  • 1.2 million tickets sold

It's almost seven years since Glasgow won the bid to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Since then brand-spanking new venues and a purpose-built village to house the athletes have sprung up in the east end and the national football stadium has been transformed into a world-class athletics track.

The road to Glasgow 2014 wasn't without its bumps - the tickets sale website meltdown and a swift U-turn over controversial plans to blow up the famous Red Road flats as part of the opening ceremony - not to mention the outbreak of norovirus among security staff.

But putting those teething problems aside, the Games have been a huge success and away from the sporting achievements the real star of the show has been the city.

"Not only has Glasgow and her citizens completely embraced the Games, but we have demonstrated our credentials as a world-class city and have truly shown that People Make Glasgow" says council leader Gordon Matheson.

And it would certainly seem that way.

"People have been very good to us, very kind and very friendly," says a member of the Papa New Guinea medical team who, along with a colleague, has joined the snaking queue outside the official merchandise shop.

"We are buying souvenirs to take home. We like the neck ties."

Clydesider Alastair MacDonald, dancing security guard, Duke of Wellington with gold traffic cone and members of Papa New Guinea medical team Volunteers, security staff, athletes and even the Duke of Wellington have been getting in on the Games fun

Already kitted out in their merchandise are Amy, 9, and Aidan Gall, 5, from Cumbernauld, in town with grandmother June and enjoying what has become a popular Glasgow pastime in recent days - spot the athlete.

GAMES HIGHLIGHTS

It's a bit like walking around in a dream. Walking into work at Pacific Quay, Wet, Wet, Wet are doing a sound-check outside and there's Sir Chris Hoy walking out the front door.

For me, the highlights have been chatting to Eilidh Child as she savoured the atmosphere at Hampden after winning a silver medal, and teasing her about her lap of honour as the crowd chanted Hibs favourite "500 miles".

The disbelief on Ross Murdoch's face when he realised he'd stolen gold from his hero, Michael Jamieson was another day I'll never forget.

But my favourite moment of the Games was watching 13 year old Erraid Davies climb out of the pool and beam that infectious smile to the world after winning bronze in the Para 100m breaststroke.

The crowds have also been an enormous hit. In full voice, heart and with a welcoming "weegie wave". Cheering on the stars, the home nations and in particular, the underdogs.

About 40,000 people at Ibrox shouting for "Uganda" is something I'll never see again.

"I'm going to tell my friends that I saw two athletes from Team Australia at the cinema," says Amy.

At Glasgow Cross three mums with buggies and toddlers are engaging in another Games event - photographs with mascot Clyde.

"We don't have tickets for anything," says one of them, Jennifer Aitken. "But we are from Fife so being so close we felt had to come, we couldn't miss out."

They are headed to Glasgow Green - one of the city's heaving live sites. There you could race Usain Bolt (be it a digital version), watch the sporting action on big screens and sample the food, drink and entertainment on offer.

In Merchant City there's been live performances, street food, vintage stalls and queues here too - to meet some of the medal winning athletes - and maybe invest in a bright orange onesie - at the pop-up Irn Bru store.

There's also been lots going on at the BBC's own pop-up festival, BBC at the Quay, and live music and dancing at the Kelvingrove Bandstand.

"I think Glasgow has done very, very well, " says Anne Carter, who along with husband Bob, has been working as a technical official at the athletics at Hampden.

Lewis Russell from Leven meets Clyde and Amy an Aidan Gall sport their merchandise Photos with mascot Clyde and getting decked out in Games merchandise became must dos for residents and visitors alike
Merchant City Festival There have been street performers, pop-up restaurants and live music
Glasgow Green Crowds flocked to live sites at Glasgow Green, Merchant City, BBC at the Quay and the Kelvingrove Bandstand

And at the venues the friendliness of these Games has also really shone through.

Time and time again the Glasgow crowds have got behind the underdog. Perhaps most memorably at the rugby sevens at Ibrox when a chant of U-GAN-DA rang out as they came back from behind to defeat Sri Lanka.

"It was very mind blowing. We do not know where it came from but we really enjoyed it," says the Uganda team's manager Michael Wadera.

"Respect to all the people in Glasgow. The organisation, the hospitality, even the weather too - it has been great."

And it's true the weather did seem to take a shine to the city for the first few days, but when the heavens opened, as we all knew they inevitably would, Glasgow again had it's own unique way of handling it.

"Taps Oan" read the message on the big screens at Hampden in reference to the locals' penchant for a bare-chest at the first glimpse of the sunshine.

Glasgow Patter and Taps Oan signs A pub near Glasgow Green was offering examples of "Glasgow patter" and that patter was in full swing at Hampden

And that Glasweigan humour was also on display in the city centre where the famous cone on the Duke of Wellington statue's head was turned gold to mark Scotland's sporting success.

But perhaps one of the stand-out tales of friendliness at the Games came at a Billy Bilsland's bike shop near Glasgow Green.

Members of the Malawian cycle team brought their bikes in to be repaired but owner Neil Bilsland decided they were not really up to the job so lent them new ones for their race.

"They were two of the loveliest guys. Big smiles on their faces. We wanted to ensure that they had a great time racing in Glasgow," he says.

Malawi cyclists with Bilsland Cycles owner Neil Bilsland The Billy Bilsland bike shop helped out the Malawian cycle team

Near the bike shop on the edge of Glasgow Green one of the pubs has a blackboard outside offering some tips on "Glasgow patter".

"We're up to high doh with these Games," it says. Meaning we're fed up or stressed out.

But it's surely tongue in cheek as the Glasgow seen by the world over the past couple of weeks is far from stressed out. It's colourful, bustling and vibrant.

As I headed to the Green the other day, not as a journalist, but as an enthusiastic punter off to see the time trial and have a go on the big wheel, I overheard a conversation which pretty much summed up the Games.

A man in a suit strode purposefully across the road towards a group of English tourists. "Did you see the cycling? " he asked eagerly.

"I'm just on my lunch break - I saw a couple of them whizz past. It's fantastic isn't it. I need to get back to the office but you guys have a great day."

And as cliched as it may sound there's been countless conversations like that across the city over the past 11 days.

Ordinary people of Glasgow taking the time to say "Hiya. How you doing? Enjoy yourselves."

More on This Story

Glasgow 2014

From other news sites

More Scotland stories

RSS

Referendum Live

  1.  
    23:13: 'Historic judgement'

    Labour MP Douglas Alexander tells the BBC: "We can only welcome the fact that we have come out in our millions to cast our vote".

    He adds that the referendum will be a "historic judgement".

     
  2.  
    23:13: Malcolm Bruce in Aberdeenshire Steven Duff BBC Scotland reporter

    Deputy Lib Dem Leader and Gordon MP Malcolm Bruce tells me he's hopeful Aberdeenshire has voted "No", but admits it is still too close call.

    The turnout in Aberdeenshire is thought to be more 80%.

     
  3.  
    23:09: Sweet tooth Aileen Clarke BBC Scotland

    Are they expecting a long night? Someone is going round offering chocolate to the counters in Glasgow.

    Chocolates for the counters
     
  4.  
    23:06: Be patient... John Curtice Professor of politics at Strathclyde University

    A high turnout in this referendum means, of course, that the votes will take a long time to count. It could be at least 01:00 before the first results are in.

     
  5.  
    23:05: The woman in charge...

    The chief counting officer at the National Counting Centre at Ingliston, near Edinburgh, is Mary Pitcaithly.

    "There is a big job to be done today but we are ready for it," she told the BBC's Laura Bicker.

    "It seems to have gone very smoothly. It has been very busy. I know that polling has been brisk everywhere but I am not aware of significant queues. I am not aware of any major issues."

    mary pitcaithly
     
  6.  
    23:03: North Lanarkshire count Stuart Dale BBC Scotland

    The first ballot box from Motherwell arrives.

    North Lanarkshire ballot boxes
     
  7.  
    23:03: In the studio

    Jackie Bird is presenting BBC Scotland's results programme, along with Glenn Campbell.

    Jackie Bird
     
  8.  
    23:02: 'On schedule' Sandy Murray BBC Scotland news

    All voting papers have now arrived at Alloa Town Hall. On schedule for an early declaration here.

     
  9.  
    23:00: Edinburgh count Andrew Black Political reporter, BBC Scotland

    Ballot boxes are arriving at the Edinburgh count now.

     
  10.  
    23:00: 'Huge Highland turnout' Craig Anderson BBC Scotland

    "Yes" campaigners in the Highlands say postal votes here so far showing a majority for Better Together.

    But they say that's what they expected and believe the majority of the local authority's 190,782 registered voters will vote "Yes".

    Unofficial estimates of the turnout in the north are "huge" with some polling stations seeing queues of voters before they opened.

     
  11.  
    22:57: Survey reaction Andrew Black Political reporter, BBC Scotland

    At the Ingliston national count, The YouGov survey seems to have intrigued the "No" side. They're, of course, being VERY cautious, but one senior figure in the camp tells me it could be an indication that undecided voters might have gone for "No" - early days yet though.

     
  12.  
    22:57: 'Astonishing' turnout Andrew Marr BBC News

    Indications from the central count at Ingliston are that the turnout has been "astonishingly high".

     
  13.  
    22:56: Stirling count Reevel Alderson BBC Scotland's social affairs correspondent

    Counting has begun in the Albert Halls in Stirling which, until 22:00, was also a polling place.

    The counting officer says 62,400 people were registered to vote.

    A total of 10,845 postal ballots were sent out and by 16:00 95% had been returned.

     
  14.  
    22:54: Watch live

    Don't forget you can watch or listen to the BBC's live television coverage of the results at the top of this page.

     
  15.  
    22:52: Social media stats

    Today on Facebook, an 'I'm Voting' button was displayed to everyone of voting age in Scotland. As of 6pm tonight, the 'I'm Voting' button had appeared in people's newsfeeds more than 2.5 million times since 7am.

    On Twitter, the most re-tweeted tweet on referendum day came from Scottish tennis player Andy Murray, who shared his stance with his 2.7 million followers. That tweet was re-tweeted more than 18,000 times.

     
  16.  
    22:52: YouGov poll

    YouGov president Peter Kellner has been telling Sky News about their final poll of 3,000 people: it shows a 54-46 lead for the No campaign. He said he was now "99% certain" of a "No" vote.

     
  17.  
    22:48: Counters in Lerwick John Johnston BBC News, Shetland

    Shetland counters get ready for the most northern ballot boxes to arrive in Lerwick.

    Counters in Lerwick
     
  18.  
    22:48: Political panel

    SNP MSP Humza Yousaf told the BBC Scotland Decides programme he was "confident" of a victory for the "Yes" campaign.

    Lib Dem MP Danny Alexander said a high turnout could marginally help the "No" campaign.

    Scotland Decides studio
     
  19.  
    22:43: Vote count

    An election official counts votes at the counting centre in Ingliston, Edinburgh.

    Counting votes
     
  20.  
    22:41: Western Isles concern

    The BBC's Angus MacDonald says the plane that will carry the ballot boxes to Stornoway for the Western Isles count has arrived in Benbecula. However, there is a still a fog around the isles and they do not know if the plane will make it to Stornoway. They have a plan to use a ferry if the plane cannot fly.

     
  21.  
    22:39: Fife rumour

    There is talk on Twitter that a number of voters were turned away in Fife.

    In a series of tweets, Fife Council has clarified: Postal voters without their postal packs couldn't vote at polling stations, need to ensure people haven't voted twice. If people hadn't received/had lost their postal vote, they were told they could get another one from Glenrothes today. We've been putting info out online/in press asking anyone who hadn't received their postal votes to contact elections team

     
  22.  
    22:35: On-the-day poll

    A YouGov survey of voters previously polled has just been released. It shows support for "No" at 54%. "Yes" at 46%.

     
  23.  
    22:32: Islands flight

    There were concerns that the count in Stornoway on Lewis could be delayed by fog affecting the plane that was carrying ballot boxes from the other Western Isles.

    It seems the plane is flying so there is no delay expected - but that could change.

     
  24.  
    22:30: On Twitter

    Labour MP Jim Murphy: This is more of a feeling than an #indyref prediction. Today I just sensed a wee bit of movement in our direction. But far too early to call

     
  25.  
    22:29: East Lothian votes

    In East Lothian, they are reporting that at least 94% of postal votes have been returned. Its previous record was 65%.

    The 80% turnout figure for East Lothian does not include postal votes, apparently. The actual figure will be available later.

     
  26.  
    22:27: The Morning After

    This short film was broadcast at the end of the BBC's televised debate at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow where 7,500 16 and 17-year-olds watched a panel of politicians make the Yes/No arguments.

    Hydro poem

    It is a call to come together, whichever way the Scottish independence referendum vote goes.

    Schoolchildren from across Scotland each recite a line from Christine De Luca's poem "The Morning After".

     
  27.  
    22:23: Global interest

    Thousands of people across the globe have tweeted messages of support and encouragement as Scotland awaits the decision.

    interactive map
     
  28.  
    22:23: Highland breakdown

    BBC staff at the Highland count are breathing a sigh of relief after a satellite van, which broke down, finally made it to Dingwall.

    BBC satellite van
     
  29.  
    22:22: Reaction on Twitter

    Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg: The people of Scotland have cast their votes. I sincerely hope that they remain a part of our family of nations. #indyref

    SNP Deputy Leader Nicola Sturgeon: So that's that. Polls have closed. What an amazing, emotional, inspirational day of democracy this has been. Now we wait. #indyref

    NPR International Correspondent Ari Shapiro: My fav fun fact about #Scotland #Indyref: The final result that the counting officer reads is legally binding, EVEN IF SHE GETS IT WRONG.

     
  30.  
    22:20: Turning out in numbers

    The word from the returning officer at the East Lothian count is that 65,339 votes have been cast from a registered 81,947, giving a turnout figure of 79.7% for the local authority.

     
  31.  
    22:19: First boxes

    South Lanarkshire - the first boxes have started to arrive from polling stations.

    This is traditionally the area that is quickest to declare when it comes to parliamentary elections. But there will be a lot of counting to do tonight.

     
  32.  
    22:16: Huge turnout John Curtice Professor of politics at Strathclyde University

    Sky are reporting an estimated 90% turnout in Dundee.

     
  33.  
    Facebook/bbcscotlandnews 22:18: Get involved

    Kenny Lowe in East Renfrewshire on Facebook: Just about to step out the door and head for the Scottish Referendum 2014 count. What a feeling of history in the making. Best wishes to all on both sides of the campaign.

     
  34.  
    22:16: Going postal

    At 32 locations across Scotland counting has begun. While they wait for the ballot boxes to arrive from the polling stations, they are counting postal votes. And there are a lot by all accounts.

    Counting begins
     
  35.  
    22:14: What's the time?

    When will we know the result? It is very difficult to predict. The bulk of the local results are expected to come in between 03:00 and 06:00.

     
  36.  
    22:12: Postal votes

    In East Lothian, they are reporting that at least 94% of postal votes have been returned - the authority's previous record was 65%.

    Elsewhere, the Dumfries count reports a 95.5% return rate on postal votes. And there may be some handed into polling stations.

     
  37.  
    22:09: Count under way Andrew Black Political reporter, BBC Scotland

    Counting is getting under way for Edinburgh at the national count centre in Ingliston.

    Postal votes are first, with the first ballot boxes expected to start arriving at about 22:45, we're told.

     
  38.  
    22:03: On-the-day poll John Curtice Professor of politics at Strathclyde University

    YouGov have announced they will release the results of their on-the-day poll at 22:30.

     
  39.  
    22:03: Vote registrations

    There were 4,285,323 people registered to vote - that is about 97% of the possible electorate.

    There were 789,024 postal vote applications, which was the largest volume of registration for postal votes ever in Scotland.

     
  40.  
    22:00: Polls closed

    The polls have now closed at polling places across Scotland. The referendum on Scottish independence is all over bar the counting.

    "Should Scotland be an independent country?" was the questioned answered by voters.

    We should know the verdict of the people of Scotland by breakfast time.

     
  41.  
    21:58: Scotland decides John Mullin BBC referendum editor

    On television, on radio and online, the BBC is mounting its most comprehensive coverage ever of a major political event as Scotland decides. Our correspondents are at every count - all 32 of them - and beyond, to tell the full story of this momentous referendum. And, sometime tomorrow morning, they will deliver the answer that Scottish voters have given to the six-word ballot paper question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

    Before voting began at 7am today the polls told us it was too close to call - at this moment in time it could hardly be more exciting.

    The referendum - which sees 16 and 17 year olds given the vote for the first time - is the culmination of a campaign signalled more than three years ago when the SNP's Alex Salmond was returned again as first minister with an overall majority and on a manifesto pledge to deliver a referendum.

    Prime Minister David Cameron agreed, via the Edinburgh Agreement, but the third option - to vote neither for independence or the status quo but for further devolution - was ruled off the ballot paper.

    Throughout the night, the BBC news website will - on this page - bring you all the key developments, as soon as they happen. And you'll have plenty of reasons to stay with us because we'll have detailed stories, the key moments in pictures and video, analysis and reaction.

     

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.