Glasgow 2014 legacy in action

Edwin  - CEO February 14, 2024
Updated 2024/02/15 at 3:45 AM
10 Min Read
WIC Glasgow 24 - Visit Scotland
WIC Glasgow 24 - Visit Scotland

Ten years on…


With anticipation building towards the start of the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow next month, the city now stands at the forefront of another momentous sporting spectacle, ten years on from the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, hailed ‘the best Games ever,’ and an event that continues to shape the city’s sporting heritage today.


Since the summer of 2014, Glasgow has seamlessly evolved into a global sporting hub, a transformation marked by the city’s recognition as the European Capital of Sport in 2023, affirming its unwavering commitment to sport and power to change lives for the better.


The excitement that swept through the city for two-plus weeks in July, from the spectacle of the Queen’s Baton Relay to the enthusiasm of the competition, marked Glasgow’s proper initiation into the global sporting arena and signaled the start of a journey that was still going, ten years on. During that time, Glasgow has hosted numerous other significant events like the 2015 World Gymnastics Championships, the inaugural multi-sport 2018 European Championships, the 2019 European Athletics Championships, and most recently, the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships.


While the word legacy is often overused, it is clear that the Games were not just a one-time spectacle; they served as a catalyst for sustained growth and achievement within the city on many levels. As the World Athletics Indoor Championships beckon, Glasgow stands ready to add another chapter to its illustrious sporting history, prepared to welcome the world’s best to compete for indoor glory in this important Olympic year.


Eilidh Doyle, Guy Learmonth, and Jemma Reekie have all competed at the sport’s top level, and all three athletes were a part of the Games in 2014 – either as competitors or spectators. Looking ahead to the world indoors, each athlete has taken the time to reminisce on the events of ten years ago, with Reekie and Learmonth amongst the athletes looking to compete. Doyle, now retired, is the event’s ambassador. Sharing their memories of the event, all three individuals still look back at Glasgow 2014 with extreme fondness and are hopeful that Glasgow can continue its athletics legacy into the next decade.


A young athlete in 2014, Eilidh Doyle is now Scotland’s most successful track athlete after retiring with a silver medal at the 2019 European Indoor Athletics Championships. Reflecting on Glasgow’s mood before the event, Doyle remembers the buzz as a young athlete when the Games were first awarded to the city.


“When they announced Glasgow had won the bid, my mum said to me you could maybe go there,” recalled Doyle, as the whole country began to make plans for the Games as Glasgow was chosen ahead of Nigerian capital city, Abuja, back in 2007.


Fast forward to 2014, and Scotland as a nation was ready and expectant to see the world’s stars arrive in the city. Doyle, a young athlete at the time, remembers the excitement.


“The whole buzz around all of the athletes, the city, and Scotland in general was better than I ever expected,” she said.


“We weren’t sure what the crowds would be like, but Hampden was utterly sold out. Stepping onto that track and hearing the noise and the crowd was something I’ll never experience again.


“The crowd wasn’t just behind the Scottish athletes; a lot of the other home nation athletes as well; it just seemed like one big celebration, one big party.”


Competing at home certainly boosted Doyle, as she claimed silver in the 400m hurdles, a memory the athlete now holds above anything else in her illustrious career.


“To win a medal and be able to do a lap of honor was terrific.


“I retired in 2021, which allowed me to reflect on my career. My favorite moment is still that lap of honor at Hampden. I’ve competed at Olympic Games, but to compete in Glasgow and do that lap of honor at Hampden was just an incredible experience.”


Eilidh Doyle Glasgow 2014Eilidh Doyle with her silver medal at Glasgow 2014 (© Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

It was also an unforgettable Games for fresh-faced 22-year-old Guy Learmonth, who would go into the event desperate to make an impact.


Returning to the competition, Learmonth expressed his excitement: “My fondest memories in athletics are of competing in Glasgow. At Hampden in 2014, the noise was deafening. I struggled to hear the announcers when I was on the start line.


“After getting through my heat, I faced David Rudisha in my semi-final. That was my standout moment. I was so nervous before the race I was sick in the shower. That had never happened to me before, but I put on my poker face when I got to the track. I remember hearing the noise, and it was so loud; then I walked out, and I felt like a gladiator.


“I qualified outright in the first spot, and that was a big surprise; it gave me such purpose. I realized that this was what I wanted to do with my life. I didn’t care how nervous I was; I just wanted to get out and run. Of all the championships I’ve done, 2014 is my best memory.”


Guy Learmonth racing in the semi finals of the men's 800m at Glasgow 2014Guy Learmonth racing in the semi-finals of the men’s 800m at Glasgow 2014 (© Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)


While Guy Learmonth used the Games as a springboard for the rest of his career, for Jemma Reekie, the Games in Glasgow came at a completely different point in her career. Still at school, the young athlete watched on as a fan, aiming to one day take her place on the track in Glasgow.


Reekie was involved in Glasgow’s hosting of the Diamond League two weeks prior and the ‘Commonwealth Baton Run’ as the hype began to build around the country.


Reekie recalled her involvement: “The Diamond League was the first big athletics competition I’d ever attended. I was amazed, and it inspired me. I remember looking at the girls running in different events and feeling so relatable to them.”


“I also carried the Commonwealth baton ahead of the Games, which was special as I could run with it close to my hometown; I felt like I was part of the games.


“During the event, I remember Glasgow being buzzing and thinking, this is incredible having it right on my doorstep; I wanted to compete in something like it one day.


“In Scotland, the event was just everywhere. We talked about it in school, and at home, it was on the TV the whole time. My family and I watched everything, making me think I wanted to be part of it.


Jemma Reekie will be hoping to build on her recent win in Liévin by winning a medal in GlasgowJemma Reekie will be hoping to build on her recent win in Liévin by winning a medal in Glasgow (© Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

Looking forward to the World Athletics Indoor Championships this March, Reekie is keen to finally realize that dream of competing in Glasgow, and she firmly believes the fans can spur her to success.


“It would be so special to compete in Glasgow next month. To get there and win a medal in front of a home crowd, my first senior medal would be so special on a home track I used to train on.


“Scottish people are always loud, noisy, and encouraging, and in the UK, the fans are generally amazing. They don’t just come and watch; they support us the whole time.”


With another significant championship now on the horizon, it’s hopefully time for Reekie, Learmonth, and Doyle to make new memories in Glasgow as the future generation of young athletes watches on. Taking place from 1-3 March, it’s not long to go until there is a buzz in the air around Glasgow once more, and all three hope this event can be every bit as memorable as the one ten years ago.


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