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Behind the scenes at Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome © Robin McKelvie

Behind the scenes at Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome © Robin McKelvie

Few people can fail to have been moved and inspired by the epic success of last year’s Olympic Games in London. All the more reason then to get excited that the world’s second most important multi-sport team event, the Commonwealth Games, are Glasgow bound in 2014.

The Commonwealth Games will be a massive event with a TV audience in the hundreds of millions that will see Glasgow stamp its presence on the global sporting map. Across 11 days of fierce sporting competition sportsmen and women from 71 nations and territories of the Commonwealth will battle it out across 17 disciplines.

Behind the Scenes at Glasgow Commonwealth Games 2014

Last week I travelled to Glasgow to check out preparations for myself. I headed first for a briefing at the swish Games headquarters in the Merchant City, where all the talk was of public engagement and legacy. The organisers are certainly walking the walk as well as talking the talk. I was impressed that they are looking to make 2014 a car-free event, there will be a whopping one million tickets available and that, unlike London, the para-sports are being integrated into the same event and included on the main medal table.

£2 billion Investment for Glasgow Commonwealth Games 2014

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The Hydro © Robin McKelvie

The organisers outlined the massive investment that has gone into getting the facilities spot on. Most of the venues already existed and have just been revamped for the Games, leaving a post-2014 legacy for the public to enjoy.

The most eye-catching of the new venues is The Hydro. Opening in September 2013 by the Scottish Exhibition & Conference Centre (SECC) this impressive steep sided amphitheatre boasts a capacity of 12,000. It will become an iconic sight in 2014 and again on my tour legacy was stressed with the aim of it becoming one of the top five busiest indoor arenas in the world, alongside such iconic venues as Madison Square Gardens in New York and London’s O2 arena.

Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome © Robin McKelvie

Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome © Robin McKelvie

Already very much open for business in Glasgow’s East End is The Emirates Arena. The scale of this sprawling 10.5 hectare state-of-the-art £113 million complex is staggering and my guide stressed it is one of the most versatile and innovative purpose built structures of its type in Europe. It can accommodate 6,500 spectators. At its heart is the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome. Hoy himself may have retired recently, but this legacy is dramatic. I could have stayed all day watching the cyclists race around the ridiculously steep 250m track, a track that will host some of the most famous names in cycling next year.

The Legacy Of Glasgow Commonwealth Games 2014

At every major sporting event the most controversial aspect is not usually on the field. It is the legacy of the Games, what the public get back from the massive spend on the Games. What I hadn’t appreciate before this visit was that Glasgow has already been named as one of the world’s top 10 sporting cities at the prestigious SportBusiness Ultimate Sports City 2012 Awards. Glasgow rose two places to number nine and finished ahead of Olympic cities including Paris, Tokyo, Moscow and Amsterdam.

With Glasgow already such a respected sporting destination – a city of globally famous football teams, Champions League and UEFA cup finals – it was

Emirates Arena © Robin McKelvie

Emirates Arena © Robin McKelvie

thrilling as a Scot to see the deeply impressive preparations that are being made for one of the great sporting events. This is a truly global event next July and August that will focus the world’s attention on Scotland’s largest city and create an enduring legacy that will have benefits for Scots for generations to come.

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