The World Cup, Wimbledon, the Tour de France – this summer has been all about sport.
And whilst we may have been glued to our TVs over the past couple of months, people in Scotland now have the chance of even more sport. And this time, it’s a chance to cheer on world-class sporting action, not just on TV, but in person.
The one week countdown to Scotland’s biggest sporting event since the 2014 Commonwealth Games is on and it’s a festival of sport happening right here in Glasgow.
Indeed, it is a world first – the European Championships is a brand new concept, bringing together aquatics, cycling, gymnastics, rowing, triathlon, golf and athletics.
And in what is an unique partnership Scotland is staging the competition alongside one of our European neighbours, Germany – its capital city, Berlin, will play host to athletics.
Around 3,000 athletes from 52 countries will be making their way to Scotland next week to compete for one of 152 medals. And as well as global stars, we have plenty of home grown talent ready to take them on.
Commonwealth Games medallist Ross Murdoch, Olympic cyclist Katie Archibald and Olympic rower Karen Bennett are just a few of the many Scots who will be competing – and hopefully winning – medals over 11 days of competition.
The talented athletes who will compete in Glasgow are truly world class. In the GB cycling squad alone there are no fewer than 13 Olympic medallists – and we have the opportunity to watch them in action in our own city.
Iconic 2014 venues that we remember so well from the Commonwealth Games – including the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome – will come to life in a major event once again. And as well as reintroducing us to familiar venues, these championships will also put a spotlight on new venues like the BMX Centre.
Whilst Glasgow may be the official host city, a range of events are happening across Scotland, which will allow even more people to take in the spectacle.
Edinburgh will play host to diving, Gleneagles will be home to golf, Loch Lomond will be the venue for open water swimming, and both rowing and the triathlon will take place in Strathclyde Country Park.
There is no doubt that these inaugural European Championships are another big feather in Scotland’s major events cap. Thanks to our staging of events such as The Ryder Cup and the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Scotland is now renowned for being a global leader in hosting huge sporting events – and that will be a major bonus when it comes to attracting further events in the future.
This success is testament to the many people who work tirelessly to bid for and win the right to stage events, but it’s also thanks to the warm welcome of our home crowds and enthusiastic volunteers – I’m certainly looking forward to seeing them come out in their thousands yet again and bringing a real buzz to the city.
Nearly 10,000 people applied to volunteer at the Championships. What is truly amazing is that the applicants came, not only from every local authority in Scotland, but also from 89 countries worldwide, demonstrating the worldwide reach Scotland has in its reputation for staging major sporting events – everyone wants to be part of it!
A huge TV audience awaits, too. There’s potential for over 1 billion people to tune into the Championships and as they’re watching Olympic, Commonwealth and European champions compete, it’s also a great opportunity to sell Scotland as a place to live, work, invest and of course, visit – indeed, this chance to market our country to worldwide audiences is one of the key benefits of hosting such major events.
As excitement builds for the sporting spectacle, it is also important to remember that alongside the sport will be a vibrant and dynamic cultural festival that has been developed by communities across Glasgow and Scotland. George Square is set to be the centre of a thriving hub for Festival 2018, which will bring a real carnival atmosphere to the city centre.
We all know that Glasgow is renowned for its creativity and I am sure that this will shine through the entire cultural programme. Highlights will include the special opening moment, spectacular evening events, international collaborations and all day long fun for families, both residents of and visitors to our city.
And in the middle of it all there will be plenty of places to sit back and relax, sample the delicious Scottish food and drink that our country is increasingly famous for, and catch up with the day’s sporting action on the big screens – so let’s hope that the warm, or even just dry, weather stays around for a bit longer!
As the countdown to these European Chamionships continues, you still have a chance to see the sporting action live. If you want to buy tickets, you can use the link below. However, whether you watch live or on TV, I hope you enjoy the spectacle as Glasgow, once again, becomes the home of world class sport.
This article originally appeared in the Evening Times. Ticketing information can be found online here.