HM Insights

Pride, passion and partnership – a golden day at Glasgow 2014

Martin Darroch, Chief Executive of Harper Macleod LLP, Legal Advisers to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and Proud Supporters of Team Scotland, reflects on getting up close to the action on an incredible Day 1.

The first day of competition at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games is a day I'll never forget. It culminated in taking part in the medal ceremony for Team Scotland's gold medal judo player Louise Renicks – only an hour after her sister had also won gold. If you'd scripted that story, no-one would have believed you.

Everyone was still basking in the glow of an incredible Opening Ceremony, and enjoying the sunshine, when the real action began on Day 1.

I was lucky enough to be a guest of Scottish Cycling for the morning session at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome. Sir Bradley Wiggins may have grabbed the attention, but my undoubted highlight was seeing para-cyclist Aileen McGlynn win Team Scotland's first medal of the Games, a silver in the tandem with her partner Louise Haston.


Aileen had been a guest of Harper Macleod when the firm celebrated its 25th anniversary earlier this year. These Games represent many firsts for Harper Macleod, and it was wonderful to be there to see her achieve this historic first. What really struck me with this, and with much of the competition I witnessed, was the close relationship between Aileen, Louise and their coach as the event progressed. For all these athletes, it really is a team game, with what goes on behind the scenes absolutely crucial to their success – even though often they alone take to the spotlight.

I also met Mark Beaumont, who accompanied the Queen's Baton around the Commonwealth. Hearing how the object and message represented by baton was embraced with positivity wherever it went was hugely inspiring. That positivity has taken over Glasgow, as the city showcases itself in a wonderful way.

Then came the judo. With Harper Macleod acting as Legal Advisers to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, and Proud Supporters of Team Scotland, I was honoured to be invited to present the medallists with gifts for the women's -52kg judo competition.


Watching Louise Renicks claim that gold, defeating her English opponent in a contest that was the definition of healthy rivalry, was fantastic. That she was following her sister Kimberly, who'd won gold just an hour before, was astonishing.

Again, with all the judo players, the role and influence of their coaches between contests was very clear, something you don't always appreciate when watching on the television.

From a personal point of view, being part of the medal ceremony for a Scottish gold medallist at a home venue gave me a sense of great pride. When the flag was raised and the national anthem played, it was a feeling that is hard to describe. I even managed to give Louise a wee kiss!


Already, the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games look like being an incredible success story for the city, the country and the Commonwealth. At Harper Macleod we're proud to have played our part in the massive effort that has gone into organising the Games.

We've always believed that greatness begins behind the scenes, but watching that hard work – from athletes, coaches and organisers – translate into this sporting and cultural spectacle is what it's all been about.