Glasgow 2014: Praise heaped on 'best Games ever'

Frank Baines of Scotland performs on the parallel bars during the men's gymnastics team final Flying high: Scotland's athletes won 53 medals during the Commonwealth Games

The people of Glasgow, as well as volunteers, crowds and athletes, have drawn widespread praise after a "fantastic" Commonwealth Games.

Team Scotland's boss said Scottish athletes had exceeded expectations and "galvanised the country".

There was also praise from First Minister Alex Salmond for those who had helped to deliver the "best and friendliest Commonwealth Games ever".

Their comments came as Games organisers prepared for Sunday's closing ceremony.

Mr Salmond said tens of thousands of visitors had been made to feel at home during the Commonwealth Games, with Scotland extending "the warmest of welcomes".

Writing in the Sunday Herald, Mr Salmond said everything about the Games had been a huge credit to the city and to Scotland.

MADNESS, MAYHEM AND MAGIC

The memories will live with me for a very long time.

There were questions in the build up to these Games, many of which couldn't be answered until they were under way. The venues were all built or refurbished and they had been tried and successfully tested - but was Glasgow ready in other aspects?

How would the city cope with a massive influx of people - would the transport plans put in place be sufficient, what about security and what if we had a typical Scottish downpour of a summer?

On the whole - we needn't have worried!

I loved how Glasgow embraced the Games and welcomed strangers in to the city with open arms. The friendly Games, right enough!

And what about Team Scotland? Gutsy, unexpected, glorious - resulting in Scotland's most successful Games ever. The pre-games medal target of 34 - blown out of the water.

It's impossible to select one special moment.

That swim by Ross Murdoch and the look of sheer bewilderment on his face, the judo team sweeping the boards or Lynsey Sharp's silver after illness nearly floored her.

The list goes on - the achievements of gymnasts Daniels Keatings and Purvis, Eilidh Child delighting the Hampden crowd and Charlie Flynn's boxing success - not to mention his wonderful after-bout TV interview on the BBC!

I've been privileged to be in the thick of it, and albeit I'm slightly lacking in the sleep department, I've loved every moment.

I'll be honest there have been nervy times, as there always are when involved in live broadcasting - just ask Daniel Purvis.

After his gold medal win I was to interview him live on Reporting Scotland, we were top story, but with 5 seconds to go before we were on no-one could hear us back at base. But the technical gods were smiling and we made it!

One final thought - the thousands of spectators that filled venue after venue for the duration of the Games. They were knowledgeable, enthusiastic and brilliantly vocal. I have no doubt they helped Scotland to that historic medal haul.

I shall miss the madness and the mayhem and the magic of these Games.

He described Scottish athletes - who are celebrating a record haul of more than 50 medals - as "fantastic".

"Hearing the national anthem in venues across the city has been hugely inspiring and emotional, and we have celebrated every medal as if it was the most important one," he said.

"But, we aren't just celebrating our medal winners; every single member of Team Scotland has been incredible and their performances have done Scotland proud."

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who was in Edinburgh visiting the Murrayfield Wanderers rugby ground, said: "On the last weekend of the Commonwealth Games it's a great weekend to celebrate sport, and how sport brings people together.

"It's been a very proud moment for Glasgow, for Scotland and indeed for the United Kingdom that the Commonwealth Games have gone so successfully. They have really been a wonderful festival of outstanding sport."

The leaders of some of the teams competing praised the planning behind the Games and the welcome they had received.

England chef de mission Jan Paterson said it had been a "fantastic experience" throughout.

She added: "Every single member of Team England has received the warmest of welcomes from the moment they arrived in Glasgow to their event finishing and that has made these Games so very special.

"We would like to publicly say thank you to the volunteers, fans in the stadium and the people of Glasgow who have played such a pivotal role in making these Games a success and so enjoyable for us."

Team Scotland chef de mission Jon Doig said Scottish athletes had "delivered for Scotland and themselves, their families and local communities".

Mr Doig said: "I couldn't be more pleased, they've been a fantastic group of people to work with and have bonded together so well.

"We had a team camp and I could see in the sea of 300 people the determination, excitement in the minds of these athletes.

"I could see at that stage we were going to be delivering something special, and they really have.

"I don't think they quite know how they have galvanised the country, but they will find out over the next week and month."

road race The road race through the city centre was one of the last events at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow

Mr Doig added: "This is no accident, this success. The support structure has been put in place in the last eight to 10 years to allow the athletes to do what they've been doing.

"There's also a change in attitude - there are people coming out knowing they can succeed at world level, they can take on the world's best and perform."

The chairman of Commonwealth Games Scotland, Michael Cavanagh, praised the athletes, supporters and workforce for making the Games such as success.

He said: "We'd like to thank everyone who's been involved but in particular the people of Glasgow, the people of Scotland, the 15,000 Clydesiders who have made that warm welcome that we have been hoping for just come to life, and of course a fantastic workforce, with the organising committee and the partnerships that have really delivered on the day.

"And, of course, the athletes - they have just come to the house and brought it down, so to speak."

David Grevemberg, chief executive of Glasgow 2014 said it was "a day for thank yous".

He praised the athletes, the workforce, those involved in organising the games, sponsors, the media and the baton bearers who took part in the Queen's Baton Relay.

He added: "A massive thank you goes to the people of Glasgow who embraced the Games and welcomed all athletes and visitors with sensational support, smiles and… selfies."

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