16 May 2013
Be there when the news is made at Glasgow 2014
At the Commonwealth Games ticket launch at the beginning of this week, I must admit to the first pangs of wishing I was going to be on poolside to compete at Glasgow 2014 however I know my fleeting moments of being welcomed like a hero, cheered like a gladiator and celebrated like a rock star are now gone! But they are moments that I will never forget!
But I thought I might share those moments, moments in my sporting career that highlight to me the power that supporters can bring to an athlete’s performance and of course point towards the unbelievable potential of Glasgow 2014.
The first was the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games when I won the 400 freestyle.
It was a major personal achievement that culminated in me standing on the podium, watching the Saltire flag being raised half way around the other side of the world.
However that was only the visible end result of the journey. A personal journey that had taken years, that been helped by 100s of people and celebrated by 1000s.
Sharing such a personal moment of triumph with such a vast number of people was a very special moment. It was a festival feeling created by the passionate and knowledgeable crowd there in Melbourne.
Becoming Commonwealth Champion was something I had been striving for, something that was so personally important to me yet it struck me that not only were people there watching me perform, enjoying the spectacle but seemed to really mean something to those Scottish supporters there half way round the world in Melbourne.
I was so fortunate to be part of a team that saw six Scottish flags being raised in the pool and six renditions of Scotland the Brave each accompanied by 1000s of hand clapping adopted Scots!
Those events may now be confided to the archives of youtube, but they’ll live long in the memories of all those that made the journey to Melbourne, each supporter helping to power the performances of the athletes, all swimming on the wave of the incredible atmosphere.
The second moment was the first day of London 2012, walking out for my final of my 400 freestyle.
The walk from being announced to my block before the Olympic final was the proudest moment of my swimming life. That moment represented everything I had dreamt, achieving a dream of mine that at many points throughout my career, I simply didn’t think I was going to achieve.
Again the personal moment of pride was greeted with a wall of noise creating a verbal guard of honour.
Although the audience didn’t know my personal journey I had gone through to achieve my moment of satisfaction, the support did show me, through the volume and passion of adulation, they could appreciate what it meant to me.
The amazing thing that I discovered later was hearing the impact my personal journey had on others. And I could certainly understand those feelings;
Standing on poolside, losing my voice cheering on Michael Jamieson down the last length of the 200 breaststroke, feeling the stadium shake as Mo Farah ran round the final bend of his 5k and being there to watch Sir Chris Hoy claim his 6th Olympic gold medal, all moments that will live with me for evermore. I know what is like to be there when news is made, the buzz, the excitement the stories you can tell afterwards.
You just have to be part of Scotland’s biggest show and take this opportunity to be part of moments of drama, excitement and celebration providing a lifetime of memories and be there went the news is made at Glasgow 2014.