Giving the Glasgow Games a sporting chance

18th April 2014 at 01:00

The success of the 2012 London Olympics was a stunning example of just what human beings are capable of when the pressure is on.

I don't mean the incredible athletes, although their endeavours and achievements were truly awe-inspiring. What was far more amazing was how the organisers triumphed after such a farcical run-up to Britain's biggest security operation for decades.

For example, the failings of security firm G4S were of award-winning proportions. To recap for those who may have forgotten, it emerged just days before the opening ceremony that the firm was thousands of staff short because it had not managed to train nearly enough recruits. It took an army of volunteers, who deserved all the praise they had heaped upon them, plus the many soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines drafted in at the last minute, to save the day.

There was also a certain degree of surprise and anger from the residents in blocks of flats near the Olympic Park who discovered that missiles were being mounted on their rooftops as part of the security operation.

London, then, provided a long list of errors to watch out for. And with the 2014 Commonwealth Games now less than 100 days away, Scotland is hoping that Glasgow took notes.

Already, however, there has been a hiccup. This week the organisers were forced to scrap plans to demolish the city's iconic Red Road flats as part of the opening ceremony after the proposal met with outrage. The tenements, which are due to be brought down as part of a city regeneration programme, are deeply symbolic of the community, past and present, and the idea of blasting people's former homes into oblivion as a kind of alternative firework display struck many as crass and insensitive.

This will hopefully not be a precursor to further troubles; certainly, trained staff should not be a problem, TESS can report.

At least, the organising committee shouldn't need to draft in the military at the last minute thanks to multimillion-pound funding from the Scottish Funding Council. The SFC has given pound;3 million to a dozen colleges across the country to deliver training courses to 2,000 students. Training apparently involves enrolling students for what is called an "award in understanding stewarding at spectator safety events".

Some of these students have already completed the training. They now have the licence to enable them to start work at the companies holding the contracts for security at the games. Many more will follow.

Announcing the investment, the SFC said that education and sport both had the power to transform people's lives. Few would disagree with that, and although farce brings mirth as well as misery, here's hoping that the legacy of Glasgow 2014 is all that it should be.


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