Australian Olympic Champion Sally Pearson today (Sunday, March 10) led celebrations across the Commonwealth to mark '500 days to go' until the start of Glasgow 2014.
From elite athletes right through to schoolchildren, the '500 days to go' landmark has been recognised by the Commonwealth's 71 Nations and Territories.
Pearson, who won the 100m hurdles at the London 2012 Olympics, wore a specially-made '500 days to go' running vest to mark the milestone in Sydney.
The 26-year-old sprint hurdler outlined her desire to compete at Glasgow 2014 and defend the Commonwealth title she claimed at the Delhi 2010 Games by revealing it was on her radar.
Across the Commonwealth a succession of young people got together to back the landmark date with events held across nations and territories including Antigua, Canada, Cayman Islands, England, Malaysia, Namibia, Wales, Uganda and even a school in tiny St Helena.
One of the most remote participants in the Commonwealth Games, St Helena lies 1,931km from Africa and the island can only be accessed by the RMS St Helena – the last remaining Royal Mail ship. St Helena has participated in the Commonwealth Games since 1982.
Anticipation and excitement is growing at home and internationally about the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games which get underway in 500 days' time on July 23, 2014.
In Glasgow itself, pupils at St Stephen's Primary School, including children from a range of Commonwealth countries, joined Clyde, the official Glasgow 2014 Mascot, for the occasion.
The ‘500 days to go’ milestone will be also marked with a special film created by Glasgow 2014 tracking an ordinary day of a cross-section of people throughout Scotland from sunrise to sunset.
Soundtracked by the Proclaimers song ‘I’m Gonna Be (500 miles)’ the film captures snapshots of the real people of Glasgow and Scotland who will all come together to put on Scotland’s biggest party at Games Time. The song has become one of Scotland’s iconic sporting anthems played at international rugby and football occasions.
Sally Pearson, Team Australia athlete, said:
"With 500 days to go, the Commonwealth Games is firmly marked in my calendar and I’m really looking forward to not only running in Scotland, but also getting a chance to see a bit of the country.”
Glasgow 2014 Chief Executive, David Grevemberg, said:
“The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games is now only 500 days away and the levels of excitement and anticipation that we feel are being shared across the Commonwealth.
“It is fantastic to see the rich diversity with everyone from top athletes to young schoolchildren in so many different Commonwealth regions wanting to share the celebrations of this milestone.
“It outlines what these Games mean to so many people and their communities. Our focus remains to deliver an outstanding event to make the whole of the Commonwealth proud.”
Mike Hooper, Chief Executive of the Commonwealth Games Federation, said:
“The ‘500 days to go’ milestone until the start of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games is an important one for everybody as it focuses minds and increases awareness ahead of the Games. I am delighted to see so many young people from right across the Commonwealth anticipating Glasgow 2014 with the same excitement felt by elite athletes.”
Michael Cavanagh, Chairman of Commonwealth Games Scotland, said:
“The ‘500 days’ landmark, sitting a day before Commonwealth Day, is another important milestone for Commonwealth Games Associations across the world and it is fantastic to see young people across so many nations and territories sharing the same excitement felt by the Commonwealth’s elite athletes.
“We look forward to welcoming these athletes to Scotland in 2014 and together we can deliver a Commonwealth Games to be proud of.”
Commonwealth Games Minister, Shona Robison said:
”It’s great to see the real enthusiasm right around the Commonwealth at the 500 days to go milestone. We are very proud to be hosting the Games in 2014 and delighted to see the excitement, from people of all ages, in the Commonwealth this weekend.”
Archie Graham, Executive Member for the Commonwealth Games at Glasgow City Council, said:
“This weekend is a milestone in the city’s preparations as we count down the days to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. Everyone in the city will be able to benefit from the Games and we want as many people as possible to get involved.
“Glaswegians are known the world over for their hospitality and good humour and I have absolutely no doubt that along with our army of volunteers, the people of Glasgow will win over the world.”
Note to Editors
1. The Commonwealth Games is an international, multi-sport event involving 71 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 20th 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 up to 15,000 local 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. Glasgow 2014 family of official sponsors is Longines, SSE, Emirates, Harper Macleod, Search Consultancy, Ernst & Young, Atos, Dell, Toshiba TEC, A.G. Barr, NVT Group, RGS and Trespass.
3. A full gallery of ‘500 days to go’ pictures from across the Commonwealth can be found at www.cgf.com
4. The Glasgow 2014 ‘500 days to go’ film can be accessed via the official website http://glasgow2014.com/video/celebrating-500-days-go