Host nation Scotland has provided ample drama in and out of the pool at the Commonwealth Games
Jul 27, 2014 - Nia Charpentier
The host nation of a global sporting event undoubtedly has a unique pressure. As we saw in Brazil at the World Cup earlier this month, that pressure can deflate in the most heart wrenching way, and leave all those heightened expectations at a loss. At the Commonwealth Games here in Glasgow there have already been falls from grace, and poster boys and girls who haven't quite made it. But at number three in the medals table, Team Scotland is looking pretty bonny. In swimming, Scotland so far has three gold medals, one silver and two bronze.
The image of Ross Murdoch's shocked face as he realised he'd won gold in yesterday's 200m breaststroke finals is likely to become one of the lasting memories of the Games for Scottish fans. More so because he pipped fellow Scot and favourite, Michael Jamieson, to the post despite Jamieson having a silver to his name from the London 2012 Olympic Games. Just to top it off, Murdoch sliced another five seconds off his personal best. Not bad for a day's work. “There is no way that just happened,” 20-year-old Murdoch said. But it did, and Scotland found a new local hero.
Hannah Miley, too, seems unstoppable, beating England's Aimee Wilmott to claim gold at the 400m individual medley. “I literally couldn't feel my legs for the last 50m,” she said afterwards. In the heats this morning she was over two seconds ahead of her counterparts, so things look good for the women's 200m individual medley finals tonight.
Daniel Wallace's third gold for Scotland, so far, almost became a political storm, as well as a sporting one. His “This is for freedom” cry as he hit the wall to seal his 400m individual medley gold victory was misconstrued as an act of support for the YES campaign, run by those who are in favour of Scotland's independence. His comment was however a salute to another Wallace, one which fans of the film Braveheart will be aware of. For clarification, the 21-year-old Edinburgh born Wallace tweeted: “FOR FREEDON as in the Braveheart movie. Not Scottish independence. Can't even vote. Live in Florida! Love you all SCOTLAND.” Although a word of advice for Wallace, as “freedom” doesn't quite stretch to the right to urinate on a police car. After his arrest in the US shortly before the Games for doing exactly that, Wallace almost faced suspension from Team Scotland. But he made it across the Atlantic Ocean, and then made it across the pool at Glasgow's Tollcross Swimming Centre in style.
As all eyes are on Scotland, athletes are providing as much drama as they are medals. There have been tears (mainly Rebecca Adlington's as she's been reporting), thrills and spills. And as the host nation we expect nothing less.