Glasgow 2014 marked the start of operations to transform the interior of Scotland’s National Stadium into a world-class athletics arena for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games – with the lifting of the famous Hampden turf.
The key moment of the Games’ most innovative construction project was overseen by Scots medal hopeful Meggan Dawson-Farrell who will compete in the stadium for Team Scotland in the T54 1500 metres at next year’s Games.
Earlier commemorative sections of the iconic turf were presented to lucky members of the Tartan Army by Glasgow 2014 Chief Executive David Grevemberg.
Hampden Park will take centre stage as the venue where the Commonwealth’s elite track and field athletes will go head-to-head for gold and glory in front of sell-out crowds.
It will be a Hampden like no one has seen before. As part of its temporary transformation, the stadium will be given a dramatic new look to gain the width and length required for an IAAF-approved athletics track.
An innovative technical solution will see the playing surface raised by more than 6ft on a grid of structural steel stilts. This will be the first time this technology has been used on this scale to deliver a world-class athletics event.
For Games-time the arena will be transformed into a 44,000-seater stadium, before returning Hampden to its current 52,000 capacity following the end of the Games.
Work to reconfigure the stadium is expected to be finished by mid-May 2014 with the venue expected to play host to the 2014 Scottish Schools Athletics Championships in June.
During Games time, Hampden will also feature the branding of Glasgow 2014’s Official Presenting Partner of Athletics, Virgin Media.
Hampden Park has already benefitted from its link to the Games, with the Organising Committee having funded a £3million permanent extension to the stadium’s North Stand including new and improved spectator facilities. This work was completed in time for last season’s Scottish Cup final in May.
It complements wider legacy improvements to the Hampden Campus, which have also seen the construction of a new pavilion for Queens Park FC at Lesser Hampden.
David Grevemberg, Chief Executive of Glasgow 2014 said:
“Today marks another exciting milestone in our journey to the Games with the start of the innovative and exciting transformation of Hampden, Scotland’s National Stadium.
“Hampden is already known the world-over as the home of Scottish football and we are thrilled that our exciting, innovative and sustainable plans will temporarily transform one of the world’s great football stadiums into a fantastic athletics competition venue for the elite athletes of the Commonwealth.
“The stadium – and the packed crowds inside it - will undoubtedly create a fantastic atmosphere for these great Commonwealth athletes and we look forward to welcoming them to the heart of Hampden, the heart of Glasgow and Scotland and the heart of the Games.”
Hampden Park Managing Director Peter Dallas said:
“After six years of detailed planning, today is another key date in our calendar. Everyone at Hampden is looking forward to assisting with the delivery of the Games which will add another chapter to Hampden’s long and proud history.
“Like so many world class footballers and rock stars before them, the athletes will savour the unique passion and energy created by a full capacity crowd at Hampden.”
Councillor Archie Graham, Executive Member for the Commonwealth Games at Glasgow City Council, said:
“The work about to begin at Hampden Park will transform what is one of our most iconic sporting venues into an arena for some of the most iconic names in sport. This innovative adaptation project will allow Hampden to become a fantastic athletics venue where we will see stunning performances from many of the Commonwealth’s finest sporting performers.
“I - like so many others - look forward to welcoming these athletes to Hampden and Glasgow next summer when we host the greatest ever Commonwealth Games.”
Commonwealth Games Minister Shona Robison said:
“Scotland is ready for 2014 and is organising what we are determined will be the greatest Games ever.
“As the home of Scottish football, Hampden has a special place in the hearts of many Scots. It’s fitting that our national stadium will play a key role when Scotland welcomes the world in 2014, when the Commonwealth’s best athletes and more than 44,000 spectators will experience for themselves Scotland’s legendary Hampden roar.”
Michael Cavanagh, Commonwealth Games Scotland, said:
“Hampden Park is such an iconic venue for Scotland and will make for an absolutely fantastic patriotic arena for the Commonwealth Games.
“Selection for Team Scotland is well under way and our track and field athletes in particular have been showing great form. I know just how much they are looking forward to competing at Hampden and I’m delighted work to transform the stadium has now started.”
Luke Southern, programme director for Glasgow 2014 at Virgin Media, said:
"As a Proud Partner of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow next year, and Presenting Partner for Athletics at Hampden Park, we are really excited to see work beginning at the stadium to get it ready in time for the Games.
“With Hampden Park being at the centre of so much of the activity for Glasgow 2014, we are looking forward to playing a pivotal role there. With eight months to go until Games Time, we can't wait to see the transformation of the stadium and help create the best atmosphere Glasgow has ever seen."
Notes to Editors
1. The Commonwealth Games is an international, multi-sport event involving 70 teams of
athletes from the Commonwealth of Nations. The event was first held in 1930 and takes place every four years. Glasgow 2014 will be the XX Commonwealth Games and will be held from 23 July to 3 August. It will feature 17 sports in 11 days of competition with 261 medal events on show. The Games will play host to 4500 athletes and sell 1,000,000 tickets with the event aided by an army of 15,000 volunteers. Glasgow 2014 Ltd is the official name for the Organising Committee tasked with delivering the Games in partnership with the Scottish Government, Glasgow City Council and Commonwealth Games Scotland.
2. Hampden Park is Scotland’s National Stadium home venue of the Scotland national football team and amateur Scottish Football League club Queen's Park. A stadium on the present site was first opened on 31 October 1903 and was the biggest stadium in the world when it was opened, with a capacity in excess of 100,000. This was increased further between 1927 and 1937, reaching a peak of 150,000. The record attendance of 149,415, for a Scotland v England match in 1937, is the European record for an international football match. The stadium has been fully renovated since then, with the most recent work being completed in 1999. The stadium houses the offices of the Scottish Football Association (SFA) and Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL). Hampden has hosted prestigious sporting events, including three Champions League finals, two Cup Winners' Cup finals and a UEFA Cup final.
3. Glasgow 2014’s official partner level sponsors are Longines, SSE, Virgin Media, BP, Emirates and Ford. For more information on Glasgow 2014’s full sponsor family, please visit http://www.glasgow2014.com/games/our-sponsors
4. Glasgow 2014, the Commonwealth Games Federation and UNICEF are working together in an exciting partnership that will transform the lives of children in Scotland and throughout the Commonwealth. Using the power of sport and culture this unique partnership aims to inspire, enable and empower the children of the Commonwealth to be the best they can be.