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Legacy of Games will run and run

The Scottish weather may have proved its reputation for fickleness on the last day, but the Commonwealth Games have been a success for the city, its people, for Scotland and for sport.

On the sporting front, there are many moments that will linger in the memory: partially sighted Neil Fachie winning the 1,000m time trial B2 tandem; Lynsey Sharp surging down the home straight to earn silver in the 800m, Scotland's second in as many nights; Charlie Flynn celebrating his gold in boxing's men's light 60kg category; Usain Bolt taking nine blistering seconds to land his first Commonwealth gold; and many more.

But the true success of the Games lies outside the stadia as well as in them. For 12 days, most of them sunny, Glaswegians and visitors have mingled on the streets and created an extraordinary festive atmosphere. Glasgow has also proved its reputation for friendliness with 50,000 people coming forward as volunteers - a record for the Commonwealth Games. With their giant foam hands and enthusiasm, they have been a delight on the streets of the city.

Many of the visitors who have come to Glasgow for the Games will also be staying on for a few days and when they do go back home will be telling their friends what a wonderful city it is. Even our neighbours in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have had some of their prejudices about Glasgow overturned and that is a legacy that can spread.

The physical legacy is promising too. The athletes may be heading home but Glasgow has the Emirates Arena, the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, the Tollcross International Swimming Centre, as well as the Athletes' Village, which is to become housing after the Games.

From the start, the Games have also inspired a healthy conversation about issues of importance in the Commonwealth - issues that Scotland can take the lead on. In many Commonwealth countries, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people continue to be persecuted, and in some, homosexuality is punishable by life in prison. But not only did the First Minister Alex Salmond express his support for gay rights, John Barrowman's very public kiss during the opening ceremony was broadcast around the world.

The Games have not been perfect of course: there were some who cringed through Barrowman's performance on the first night, as well as at the dancing teacakes and inflatable Nessie. Transport arrangements were also occasionally less than perfect, with hundreds of spectators missing some of their events because of shambolic park-and-ride schemes.

But despite these issues, it is likely that most people will have happy memories of the Games, not least because they gave communities a chance to get together as the baton made its way around the country. There is also a real chance that the investment that the Games brought to Glasgow will bring about a transformative effect in some of the city's most deprived areas. The Games have been great; their legacy could be greater.

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