Let’s be honest, it wasn’t so much a game of two halves as a dodgy opening ceremony before a great games. Yes it was dodgy so don’t try to apologise or stick up for it! Within 16 minutes we’d switched off and were watching something else because you don’t need to be John Nash or Pythagoras to do this maths: John Barrowman + Karen Dunbar + Amy McDonald + Rod Stewart + Oversized Teacakes and kilts = Switch off.
But putting that aside it was a great games and the thing I loved most of all was the integration of Para sports with able-bodied ones – it gave the whole thing a much more connected feel. I loved the Paralympics in 2012 and thought they outshone the Olympics in many ways, but here everyone competed together and you got to appreciate all the athletes as one. Many of these people train side-by-side throughout the year so why wouldn’t you have them compete on the same timetable in the same games. Would it work n the Olympics? Well perhaps it would require more venues as adapting playing surfaces/venues etc. Might not be possible but I’d like to see it eventually happen. Neil Fachie getting double gold was a real highlight as you could see the pure joy in his face as they clinched victory in the third leg of their second race.
To see Scotland come fourth in the medal table was great but so was seeing Wales and Northern Ireland smash their own targets too and England topped the table for the first time in 28 years which can only be good for Rio in two years time to have such a strong pool of athletes and sportspeople to select from. But however much these games were not supposed to be political it did creep in with the referendum just seven weeks away. Moans from the Yes camp that England were getting lots of headlines was just the continuation of he “BBC are Bias” bullshit we have come to expect – they seem to forget that we (Scotland) are only a tiny percentage of the licence fee paying UK and England did fantastically well. No escaping that. And I would say from the coverage that Scotland got a lot of coverage as did the other two home nations. Also it WAS a Home games for England, Wales and Northern Ireland in so far as we usually all play together in the big tournaments so as proud as the winners were to be performing for their individual parts of the country they’ll all be back together in training this week.
Scotland did a good job of putting the games on – the opening and closing ceremonies apart which were weak in places – and we showed we can perform on the big stage. I’d like Hampden to reconsider removing the track because to see that sort of meet up here would be great in the future. We’re more than a Footballing nation and we should be bidding to get more events and tournaments – even outside of the central belt. We can do golf and Rugby but we showed there is more to our palette that the tradition Scottish sports.
Overall I thought it was a great success (and we even won old Usain Bolt over in the end as he danced around to the Proclaimers and posed for selfies) and if done properly shouldn’t be seen as a poor relation of the Olympics but as a great sporting occasion in its own right…despite the fact we originally ransacked, enslaved and monopolised these countries as part of an uncaring and ruthless Empire machine. 😉