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A Look Back at Edinburgh 1970 through the Eyes of a Volunteer

Opening Ceremony of the 1970 Commonwealth Games

Jenny Thomson was a student starting out in life in 1970 and the Edinburgh Games were too good a chance for her to pass up. Now, forty years on, Glasgow 2014 has captured her imagination again.  

What made you get involved in the 1970 British Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh?

When I heard about the Games I was a student at the Physical Education College. I saw an advert and went along to find out more. The army came to see if we were fit for a role and put us through our paces – very different from the selection process now.

Volunteer Jenny Thomson in 1970

Was there a buzz around Edinburgh?

Yes, there was a fantastic atmosphere, but I think Glasgow 2014 will be even better!

In 1970, what were you most looking forward to?

The Royal Commonwealth Pool that had just been built. My dad was a North of Scotland champion swimmer and diver, and if it hadn’t been for the war he might have made it as an athlete.

Where were you based at Games time?

I got my wish and became a medal bearer at the pool! I was able to get up close to the athletes and the chance to see the Australian swim team wasn’t too bad either!

What was most memorable for you?

Just being a part of it was a great experience. I was invited to attend the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and a few parties in-between, too.

Did you meet any famous athletes?

David Wilkie – he won a Bronze medal!

What does Glasgow 2014 mean to you?

A lot! If possible, I’d love the chance to experience a big competition at the Royal Commonwealth Pool again. In 1970, my career was just beginning and now I am approaching the end of it. To go back would feel like a nice conclusion.

Edinburgh, 1970

What four athletes would you invite to dinner?

Kelly Holmes, Muhammad Ali, David Wilkie and Katherine Grainger. Ali is a legend and it would be interesting to get his perspective on Parkinson’s Disease – a condition my husband also deals with.

What advice would you give to Glasgow 2014 volunteers?

Enjoy yourself! These opportunities don’t often come along so make the most of every moment!

The Glasgow XX Commonwealth Games are now over. This website is closed and for reference purposes only. Some external links may no longer work. For the latest news and information, please visit the Commonwealth Games Federation website.