Glasgow 2014 was more than a sporting occasion. It was a time of happiness for many people. It brought about many days of real inclusiveness for many people across society. And it brought home one of the biggest international events in the world to our doorstep.
Athletes and many other people from across the Commonwealth were very impressed by the hospitality of the Scottish nation. They were made to feel at home despite the long distances that they had travelled. Every aspect of their welfare during their stay was carefully taken care of and cherished to the finest detail – whether that was accommodation, transport or provision of facilities.
Scotland’s success as a country is as dependent on how tall we stand on the world stage as well as how well we do at home. In the aftermath of London hosting the Olympics two years previously, there was without doubt a considerable amount of pressure on Scotland’s biggest city to perform and perform well. And they truly did and spectacularly at that.
In fact, Glasgow did so well in 2014, that it couldn’t be resisted to think about the potential viability of the same city within the same country taking on the responsibility of holding a future Olympic Games. But it shouldn’t be anticipated that this would be an almost immediate occurrence. The timescale would probably be about at least 20 years or so before we ever got to the point where the viability of a Scottish Olympics would begin to be even properly suggested, yet alone evaluated.
It should be anticipated that many readers of this article will be bemused by the idea of a Scottish Olympics at this current time, especially when other issues dominate people’s lives and their priorities lie elsewhere. The continuation of austerity by the UK Government is certainly no cheerful remedy nor does it encourage any out of the ordinary creativity and appetite for radical new ideas to emerge in terms of holding major events.
Why should we move so quickly towards holding another major sporting occasion so soon after Glasgow 2014? Do we need more time to pinch ourselves after last year’s successful Commonwealth Games? There are many, many reasons why we should be cool on the idea of the Olympics coming to a country of the size like Scotland and of the size of a city like Glasgow – you can list a hundred and one reasons why we shouldn’t go about spending another few billion pounds on another major international event.
But why shouldn’t Scotland be the focus of the world’s eyes once more? It has to be acknowledged that the Olympics is a bigger event than the Commonwealth Games in terms of size, logistics and the variety of sports that are played. It also has to be appreciated that many of the previous host cities for the Olympics are considerably much bigger in size than that of Glasgow. For instance, London’s population is approximately ten times that of Scotland’s biggest city if you include Greater Glasgow.
And the prospect of a major proliferation of Glasgow’s population is non-existent. Yet this is unnecessary. Ironically, however, the prospect of an Olympic Games in Scotland would bring about a lot of economic benefit and much welcome regeneration and would increase the international profile of the city and the country. Unconnected to the Olympics specifically, we should always aspire to stay internationally relevant and punch above our weight as a country like other places such as Singapore and the Scandinavian nations.
Ultimately, the potential legacy of a Scottish Olympic Games would be absolutely lucrative. Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games last year left a vital legacy where many areas were revamped after years and years of decline. Areas such as Dalmarnock were transformed. New sporting venues such as the Emirates Arena opposite Celtic Park are much valued public facilities as well as major focuses of major sporting occasion. The formation of the Athlete’s Village has now changed into a set of new homes for residents to move into. And the city as a whole is more at ease with itself than ever before, but that is of course not to say that it isn’t still without it’s major long-term problems.
It has to also be said that the nation’s self-confidence was boosted as a result of Glasgow 2014. We all felt good about ourselves. The so-called “Scottish cringe” was given the red card and we rose as a nation. If we are to secure our independence within the next decade, then what better way to make a name for ourselves internationally than to aspire to play host to the most major sporting occasion on the planet?
A Scottish Olympic Games would bring about similar benefits as did last year’s Commonwealth Games, but on a much bigger scale. Very few people now question Glasgow and Scotland’s capability to host such major international events. And if anyone fears that the city cannot compete with others such as London or Sydney then they need to remember this – quality, not quantity counts for everything.
People make an event for what it is. Glasgow and Scotland rose to the occasion last year. They made Glasgow 2014 the greatest Commonwealth Games in history. And they would more than rise to the prospect of a future Olympic Games one day. We might be a small country of around five million people, but we are truly special.
Nae limits Glasgow! Nae limits Scotland!