04/08/2014 18:17 BST | Updated 04/10/2014 06:59 BST

Glasgow 2014 - The Legacy Question

London 2012 drew even the coolest of cynics to relish its magic, creative panache, cultural richness and fantastic sporting achievements. At the time I was working at UK Sport, the agency responsible for funding the UK's top athletes, and some days every five minutes a new medal alert was pinging into our inboxes. Unforgettable, yes. Unmatchable? After the last couple of weeks, I don't think so.

Post events people rightly debate 'the legacy' question. Indeed, there is a mini-industry in such enquiry. As a speaker at IOC Sport for All conferences I joined those debates, often with academics arguing that events leave behind only white elephants and a big economic hangover for the host community. Tumbleweed infests deserted stadia, anticipated surges in sports participation never materialise.

But was it ever realistic to expect that thousands more people would join sports clubs just because a wonderful event has happened in their city or country? Of course not, that would need investment beyond the event itself in the infrastructure of coaches, PE teachers, volunteers and environments that are accessible in a way that many traditional 'clubs' can never be. And is increased sports participation really the only manifestation of legacy we should expect to see?

I believe that we should look elsewhere for what it is we want events to leave behind. My team and I have spent a lot of time in Glasgow over the last few months - and I can say the overwhelming feeling is one of happiness, of pride, of taking pleasure in working together and working hard to make it happen. It is about the spirit of the city and the people within it that make it special - and that is what we must build upon and sustain. A colleague of mine was interviewing people on Glasgow Green just the other weekend and one Glaswegian said to her: "This is the best thing to happen to Glasgow, the city feels different. People seem happier - we've really embraced it."

We must not underestimate the power and potential of events to make things better.

I'm so proud to be chief executive of Spirit of 2012 - a new charity, founded by the Big Lottery Fund - to invest in projects that define and extend that spirit, that feeling of happiness.

We exist to create a London Olympic and Paralympic Games legacy by rekindling the spirit of 2012 from the spark of other events, including Hull City of Culture 2017, the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics and, yes, Glasgow 2014. These are events that have and will excite people, get them out and about - seeing, doing, learning and enjoying and in the process they are rediscovering pride in their home town and what it has to offer.

We are taking that spirit to more people across the UK, so that they experience it in their communities, not just from their armchairs. Our £5m Spirit of Glasgow programme will create a legacy for the XX Commonwealth Games, in Glasgow itself and around the UK.

What is your favourite memory of the Glasgow 2014 XX Commonwealth Games?

Was it Erraid Davies, Scotland's youngest ever competitor (and the youngest at these Games) storming into the history books to win a Bronze medal in the SB9 100 metres Breaststroke? Jazz Carlin winning Wales' first gold in the pool for forty years? The amazing emerging talent of 16 year old Claudia Frangapane, scooping no less than 4 gold medals? Whirling dervishes in tartan? Usain Bolt clowning with the 'crazy' Hampden crowd? Kylie meets Lulu? Thousands singing in the rain with the Big Big Sing on Glasgow Green? All of those nailed Glasgow's 'best ever' hosting of the 'friendly games'.

I remember when Glasgow launched their bid to host the Games in 2005 and it seems incredible that they have now been and gone.

That doesn't, however, mean that Glasgow's great Games have left no trace. Glaswegians can now enjoy new facilities, transformed landscapes and the glow that comes from having welcomed the Commonwealth so warmly. More than that, 15,000 Clydesiders helped make it possible and 3,000 amateurs danced their way through the feisty and distinctively Scottish opening and closing ceremonies.

Our Glasgow investment includes projects that range from pop-up sports clubs in areas of deprivation to flashmob choirs to help beat isolation. We are providing long-term support to 14 communities across the UK to help neighbourhoods use sport, arts and volunteering to connect people, improve well-being, and, who knows, help to inspire and nurture the next Claudia or Erraid. By the time the XXI Commonwealth Games reaches the Gold Coast - the Glasgow legacy will still be very much alive.

Legacy may not always manifest itself in the way we expect - but it does exist, for London and now for Glasgow. We will be there to help make sure of it.