We were once regarded as the second city of the Empire. Today we stand as the first city of the Commonwealth

IT'S finally here.

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Glasgow 2014, the best Commonwealth Games there will ever have been. The Games have put our city in the spotlight like never before. It will be the biggest sporting and cultural celebration ever witnessed in Scotland, with over one million tickets sold and an expected television audience of 1.5billion.

And we are ready to wow the world.

We are no stranger to hosting international sporting events, but the Commonwealth Games will be like no other.

Records will be broken, medals will be won and legends will be born.

Excitement is building and the atmosphere in the city is already at fever pitch.

Some of the biggest names in world sport will go for gold in our world-class venues. Usain Bolt and Mo Farah will be joined by home grown talent such as Michael Jamieson, Daniel Purvis and Eilidh Child.

And they will be roared on by the most passionate fans in the world.

The athletes and spectators will be welcomed to the city by an army of 15,000 Clyde-siders, who will be the face of the Games.

Their passion and enthusiasm is just one of the reasons why I am confident that Glasgow 2014 will be the best Games ever.

But Glasgow's Games were never going to be about just 11 days of sporting competition.

They have secured a lasting legacy for our city, with the Council's £50million Glasgow Guarantee helping create 4500 jobs and apprenticeships linked to the Games.

At its peak, over 500 people including 50 apprentices helped build the magnificent Emirates Arena. A staggering £400million worth of contracts related to the Games have been awarded, with more than £200m of these going to Glasgow-based firms.

The Games have also been the catalyst for the regeneration of the East End, where some 700 families will move into the Athletes Village.

And then there are our incredible venues, built by the city of Glasgow for the people of Glasgow - the Emirates Arena and Tollcross International Swimming Centre to name but two.

These sporting theatres weren't just built for the Games and are being used day in and day by local people. The legacy of these venues will live on long beyond the final medals are presented this summer.

They are already helping inspire the next generation of sports stars with a remarkable 6.6million attendances at our venues during the last year alone.

A record high for Glasgow.

While we are Scotland's sporting capital, we are also its cultural powerhouse.

Alongside the sporting events the Festival 2014 cultural programme will wow Glaswegians and visitors to the city with over 1000 shows and exhibitions set to take centre stage.

2014 will always be known as the Year of Glasgow. We were once regarded as the second city of the Empire.

Today we stand as the first city of the Commonwealth.

And in years to come, we will be able to say: 'I was there.'

Bring it on.

Sport

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