As the curtain fell on a spectacular eleven days of sporting endeavour, Glasgow stood tall and stood proud as worthy host of the Twentieth Commonwealth Games. Sure, it wasn't London 2012 let alone Brazil 2014, but nor did it have the gargantuan budgets typically associated with such events. Instead, this was a modern Glasgow entirely at ease with itself as it bestrode the world stage. An archetypal 21st century city that fused together its past and its future in perfect sync through the lens of thoroughly modern cosmopolis. Perfectly illuminated by panoramic camera shots that captured the juxtaposition of modern architectural constructs amongst the city's most historic landmarks.
If they are otherwise known as the Friendly Games, then this was the Perfect Games. An event delivered within a very reasonable budget having made full use of existing stadia and infrastructure. Simple upgrades to existing facilities ensured minimal capital expenditure. With sell-out crowds, a smooth operation and the absence of any notable hiccup, organisers deserve applause for delivering a near flawless spectacle. Unlike Delhi four years before, this was an all-inclusive affair with competitors, volunteers and fans equally enthused to be involved.
With the opening ceremony at Celtic Park providing a raucous atmosphere, competitors themselves did not disappoint in their efforts to raise the roof. With a solid array of talent on show, it was hard to avoid getting caught up in the struggle of many an athlete. The integration of para-sports alongside competition for able-bodied athletes adding to the poignancy of those individual tales.
From Libby Clegg in the para-sprint, Alistair Brownlees in the triathlon or Geraint Thomas in the cycling road-race, there are many highlights to recount and many more performances worthy of mention. For this observer, it was the sight of Nigeria's Blessing Okagbare storming her way to double gold in the 100m and 200m that captured the imagination. Graced with sacrifice and dedication, it was the individual pursuit of each athlete that offered the most inspiring narrative.
To revel in enjoyment is not to turn a blind eye to the few shortcomings, such as the overbearing security presence or the decision to employ Atos as a contractor, that most repulsive organisation charged by Westminster to means test vulnerable welfare claimants and reduce their already meagre allowance. It is simply recognition that there wasn't a spectator, participant or ordinary Glaswegian in sight who didn't bask in the glow of the last fortnight. Even the BBC and its clique of presenters were smitten by Glasgow and everything that it offered.
No sooner had the closing ceremony started that it became clear Glasgow had breathed new life into what was considered an ailing event. With the baton now passed to Gold Coast 2018 the bar has now also been raised immeasurably. In the words of Sinatra, we did it our way and as a proud Glaswegian, we couldn't have done it any better.Suggest a correction