We are making a huge success of these Games, not just in the events and ceremonies, but right across Glasgow too

WHAT a start to the Commonwealth Games we had on Wednesday - we said we would pull it off, and we did, the organisers did a spectacular job.

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It is estimated that more than a billion people watched the opening ceremony on Wednesday.

It's hard to comprehend that big an audience, and it's an exciting prospect to think of so many across the world who have seen what Glasgow can achieve.

The opening ceremony was a real bonanza and didn't take itself to seriously.

From dancing Tunnock's Tea Cakes and cans of Irn Bru, to Rod Stewart and Nicola Benedetti - and that spectacular Red Arrows fly past - there was something for everyone.

Even the Duke of Wellington made an appearance with his traffic cone.

And in the colourful context of the ceremony, even a few of the Scotland Team uniform's critics were reassessing their view.

As each Commonwealth team entered Celtic Park they were drowned in cheers.

It was a reminder of the value of these international sporting events.

They are a chance to renew old friendships across the world, and put aside our differences.

Even though the teams are in competition, there is a real feeling of solidarity and fellowship running through the Games.

The Unicef appeal made during the ceremony had raised over £3.1 million by Thursday morning, with more on the way - real change for children worldwide.

And there was a moving tribute to Nelson Mandela, a recording played where he spoke of his appreciation for Glasgow's support and solidarity from thousands of miles away.

The first day held just as much excitement, with four gold medals won by team Scotland, two in Judo and two in swimming.

Kimberley Renicks struck first in the Judo winning our first gold, swiftly followed by her sister Louise.

In the swimming, it was Ross Murdoch and Hannah Miley who clinched gold for Scotland. Nothing could beat the joyous looks on their faces as the realised what they'd just done.

Over a million tickets are sold, 6500 athletes from 71 countries and thousands of tourists from around the globe are in town.

We are making a huge success of these Games, not just in the events and ceremonies, but right across Glasgow too.

The atmosphere in the city is truly special and we owe a great deal of thanks to the army of people, many of whom are volunteers, working hard in a variety of roles to bring it all off.

The grand finale will be the closing ceremony, time to celebrate and to look ahead.

In my last column, I wrote about the long term and positive legacy that the Games have brought to Glasgow and how that legacy will go far beyond sport.

These Games are delivering great things for Glasgow, economically and culturally, and will continue to do so.

People who have travelled from around the world will return home with great stories to tell about their time in here.

We are going to make these days something to remember.

Glasgow, do us proud.


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