Thursday, July 31, 2014

A peek at our Commonwealth Games experience

Our week has been dominated by the Commonwealth Games. We spent much of last Saturday, Sunday, and Wednesday attending sporting events, while other days we've watched bits and pieces on television.

Last week, I provided some background on the Games. Here are a few snippets of our week:

Huge crowds set a world record for attendance at a rugby sevens competition. The popularity of rugby sevens at multiple Commonwealth Games has prompted the Olympics to include rugby sevens for the first time in 2016.
I was happy to get a chance to see Ibrox Stadium, home of the Rangers F.C., one of Glasgow's two famous rival football clubs.
Scotland played New Zealand in one of its group matches. Scotland has never beaten New Zealand in rugby sevens at any level, including this past Saturday.
Since a rugby sevens match is only 15 minutes long, we had twelve matches just in our four hour session. Here, Australia took on Sri Lanka.
On Sunday, we headed out to watch the men's and women's marathons. One of Kate's friends and colleagues, Hayley, was representing Scotland in the women's marathon. Hayley, age 42, now holds the record as the oldest Scot to perform in track and field at a Commonwealth Games. She's a remarkable athlete who has a full-time job as a professor, a toddler son, and trains only when her schedule allows it. A series of injuries, bad luck, and other life events prevented her from competing in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics for the U.K.

Clyde is everywhere in Glasgow.
The lead group of men ran by about half an hour before the women did. An Aussie man took gold over a Kenyan.
We met friends at Pollock Park to watch Hayley. The marathoners run the route twice, so you get to see four passes of the men and women.
A fan of Hayley.
Running by the sign.
On Wednesday we went to a morning session of "athletics" (i.e., track and field). Attending a track and field session is a chance to see a potpourri of events. We saw heats of sprints, middle distance running, hurdles, high jump, long jump, and discus.

Athletics are held in Hampden Park, which is Scotland's national football stadium. When it opened in 1903 it could seat more than 100,000 people, making it the largest capacity in the world. For a Scotland vs. England football match in 1937, it held more than 149,000.
 A preliminary heat of hurdles.
I didn't realize folks still jumped without doing the Fosbury flop.
A preliminary heat of the 200 meters.
We've had a great week enjoying the Games. It's likely the biggest sporting event we'll ever experience, unless we somehow happen to live in a city where a future Olympics or World Cup are held; I doubt we'd ever travel a long distance to attend. So it's a once in a lifetime opportunity for us, which we're grateful to have experienced.

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