The official mascot for the Commonwealth Games was unveiled today as Clyde, dubbed a patriotic and adventurous thistle, who was designed by a 12-year-old girl.
He was welcomed by Olympic swimming stars Rebecca Adlington and Michael Jamieson at Pacific Quay, on the banks of the river he's been named after.
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Along with 150 school pupils from across the city, they heard for the first time Clyde’s magical story – as told by actor, comedian and Glasgow 2014 Ambassador Billy Connolly, who narrated an animated film which premiered at the launch.
Clyde’s creator, Beth Gilmour from Cumbernauld, won a UK-wide competition, from over 4000 entries, to design the Glasgow 2014 Mascot.
On top of her art and design talents, she swims for Cumbernauld Swimming Club, and was delighted to join her swimming heroes on stage at the launch event.
The Organising Committee joined forces with the BBC in October last year to run the children’s competition, which was launched as part of the 1000 days to go milestone, with the help of CBBC’s Blue Peter and BBC Radio Scotland’s Fred MacAulay & Co Show.
Beth, who won four tickets to the Glasgow 2014 Opening Ceremony as part of her prize, said: “I still can’t believe that my entry is now the Glasgow 2014 mascot – it’s amazing to see Clyde come to life and I’m so happy that my design and idea will now be seen by everyone across the world.
“To know that I have played a part in Glasgow 2014 is incredible and I hope everyone across Scotland and the Commonwealth love Clyde as much as I do!”
Beth’s design was chosen for its Scottish symbolism and Glaswegian charm and likeability. Her entry interpreted this much-loved symbol with a youthful energy – embodied by a cheeky facial expression – and strong, sporty thistle arms and legs.
The idea of using a thistle was a strong favourite of the judging panel and Glasgow 2014. The thistle uniquely represents a symbol as much at home in the modern, urban heart of Scotland’s largest city as it is in Scotland’s remote, epic landscapes.
Clyde is also a significant departure from all previous Commonwealth Games mascots, the first time the official mascot has not been an animal, a trend that has continued ever since the first Commonwealth Games mascot for Edmonton in 1978 – a bear called Keyano.
The mascot will be a significant personality in the run-up to and during Games-time. He embarks on a national tour of Scotland straight after the launch and will play a major role in many landmark moments on the journey to the Games, motivating young people in particular to make the most of Scotland’s largest ever sporting and cultural event.
Connolly said: “Clyde’s a great wee thistle and it’s a very, very good idea and a fantastic design by Beth. The thistle is the perfect choice and has a great history and meaning in Scotland, plus Clyde’s got a smashing haircut that makes him very modern and gives him a lovely edge!
“The River Clyde is unbelievably special to the people of Glasgow, it’s one of the sole reasons for Glasgow being here and I personally believe the thistle is a brilliant plant, it really is rather special. The combination of the two really celebrates everything that’s great about the city and Scotland.”
Adlington, Britain’s most successful Olympic swimmer, said: “It’s fantastic to be a part of the Glasgow 2014 Mascot launch as an Ambassador, the huge success of London 2012 will only increase the excitement and interest towards the Games and I can’t wait to be a part of the journey to 2014.
“It was amazing to see the warmth and excitement generated towards Clyde from all the youngsters here today, he was an instant hit and his cheeky character was clear for all to see. He’s already a star in my eyes and huge congratulations to Beth for creating such a fabulous Mascot!”
Jamieson added: “Clyde is great fun and the perfect Mascot to spread the Glasgow 2014 message across Scotland, the UK and the Commonwealth. He’s a true Glaswegian and you can’t help but smile when you’re in his company – I’m sure everyone who meets Clyde will feel the same.
“The Games being in Glasgow will offer an amazing opportunity to showcase the city and Scotland. It’s incredible to know that world-class athletes from across the Commonwealth will be coming to my home city in 2014 – being able to compete in front of a passionate home crowd at Tollcross will be something truly special.”
Glasgow 2014 Chair Lord Smith said: “The Glasgow 2014 Mascot has been created for young people, and what better way to do that than through having a competition for those young people to design it. It is important that young people are at the heart of the Games – Beth’s design captured the imagination and the spirit of not only the Games but also of Glasgow and Scotland.
“Clyde is the cheeky but friendly face of Glasgow 2014 and will take the Commonwealth Games message to the people of Scotland. He will help bring the personality of the Games to life and he will welcome spectators and athletes from all over the world to the Games.”