Scottish Rugby legend Gavin Hastings OBE has been revealed as the first-ever “Chieftain” for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Athletes’ Village.
The sporting star officially opened the Village today, Sunday 13 July, as the first of the athletes and officials for the Games began to arrive in Glasgow.
It’s a long-standing Games custom that Athletes’ Villages appoint a Village Mayor who takes on an honorary role of representing the Organising Committee in the Village. For the first time, Glasgow 2014 is injecting an element of Highland Games tradition into the custom with the official representatives being known as ‘Chieftains.’ In addition, in a further break with tradition, the Glasgow 2014 village will have more than one “Chieftain”, officiating on different days throughout the Games period, to enable a number of personalities and athletes to welcome and support the 71 teams.
The Chieftains, who will perform a range of duties including leading Team Welcome ceremonies and hosting official and VIP visits, include: Scotland’s most successful Olympian Sir Chris Hoy, Gold Medallist rower Katherine Grainger, Gold Medallist swimmer David Carry, Scotland’s first ever Gold Medallist for gymnastics Steve Frew, Scotland’s most capped hockey player Rhona Simpson and Olympic and Commonwealth hammer thrower Shirley Addison. Chieftains will also be selected during the Games from Team Scotland medal-winners, enabling Scottish successes to play host at their home Games. Mark Beaumont, the adventurer and broadcaster who has met many of the teams on his journey across the Commonwealth with the Queen’s Baton, completes the list.
The line-up reinforces Glasgow 2014’s athlete-centred, sport-focused vision who – from 14 July – will help athletes, officials and dignitaries from the 71 nations and territories feel at home during their time in Glasgow.
Official duties include presiding over each of the Team Welcome ceremonies between 13 July and 22 July, meeting and greeting dignitaries, hosting official visits of the Royal Family, Heads of State, Heads of Government and VIPs and carry out tours of the Village.
As the first Chieftain in post, Gavin Hastings hosted the official opening of the Village which included a performance of dance and theatre by the National Youth Theatre.
Glasgow 2014 Chief Executive, David Grevemberg, said:
“The Village is key to the overall success of the Games and a vital component is to make sure all the athletes and visitors receive the warmest of Scottish welcomes when they arrive. I’m sure each of our Chieftains will bring huge amounts of energy and personal experience to the role. As official representatives of the Organising Committee, they will perform duties such as hosting ceremonies and greeting dignitaries, as well as engaging with athletes and team officials to ensure Scotland’s warm welcome and hospitality are experienced.”
Michael Cavanagh, Chairman of Commonwealth Games Scotland, said:
“Team Welcome Ceremonies are a key moment for athletes, team officials and guests marking the end of their journey to the Games and the start of their residency in the Village. The Chieftain will officially welcome the teams, gifts will be exchanged, the team flag raised and the nation’s anthem played. The Chieftain will then chat to the guests and make them feel really at home. As an athlete-centred, sport-focused home Games, we’re thrilled that some of Scotland’s greatest athletes will share their warmth and experience with the 71 teams.”
Chieftain Gavin Hastings said:
“It is a real honour to be selected as the first Chieftain of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Village and have a chance to play my part in the biggest sporting and cultural event to happen in Scotland.”
Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said:
“The opening of the Athletes’Village is another reminder that the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games is almost upon us. I, and so many other people in the city cannot wait to welcome many of the world’s greatest athletes to Glasgow, and I am sure that they will enjoy their time in these fantastic homes. The Athletes’ Village is an emblem of how Glasgow has been transformed by the Games, and its particular legacy will be a new neighbourhood for the city.”
Cabinet Secretary for sport and Commonwealth Games, Shona Robison, said:
“The Athletes Village in Dalmarnock has the potential to bring lasting change to the area, as well as playing an important and significant role in welcoming athletes from across the Commonwealth to their home away from home in Glasgow over the next few weeks.
“The construction at the state-of-the-art village is of an extremely high quality, and there are tremendous facilities on offer for the athletes, offering the best possible experience during their time in Glasgow, including recreation areas, dining halls and medical facilities.”
“After the Games the Village will deliver a long-lasting legacy, providing a care home, a sustainable district heating system and 700 new homes in the east end of Glasgow.”
Tours of the village will last up to 45 minutes and take place twice a day. The Chieftain will show guests around, bringing the story of the Village to life.