Our Hosts and Champions exhibition has returned from a successful run in Glasgow during the 2014 Games and is currently on display in our Pathfoot Building. In this article Ian Mackintosh, our Exhibition Assistant, writes about the curious tale of the Games mascots…
Clyde the mascot of the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games has been hailed as a great commercial success. It was a unique selection in that the mascot was designed by Beth Gilmour a 12 yr. old Cumbernauld school pupil. Her design was selected from a Blue Peter completion. Her creation is also unique in that Clyde is the first non-animal/mammal mascot for the Commonwealth games.
If the Legal and Concessions Committee of the 1970 Edinburgh Games been as bold as the 2014 Games Organisers it would all be so different. They had been bold enough to commission a mascot for the games because of the success of World Cup Willie in 1966. The mascot for the 1970 games was to be a kilted Haggis dubbed “wee mannie”.
From high profile publicity launch in July 1969 followed by a competition launch to name the mascot all soon turned sour. The committee received 23 letters of complaint against the mascot. Yet despite over 400 entries to name the mascot from children from all over Britain “wee mannie” (above) was dropped. The committee claimed that the BCG Crest design (below) was more popular.
While the 1970 Games Committee claimed the idea of a mascot was not a popular one, on Saturday 18th July 1970 they must have regretted that decision. The Scottish Athletics team for the 1970 games had created a mascot for themselves. It was a huge teddy bear was dressed in a navy blue Scottish Athletic team vest and white shorts named “Dunky Dick”.
when Lachie Stewart had just won the 10,000 metres comfortably beating the great Australian runner Ron Clarke into second place. What happed next was one of the most iconic sporting moments in Scottish sporting history? Scottish woman’s 800 metre hopeful Rosemary Stirling ran to the victorious Lachie Stewart and presented him with the mascot. The image of Lachie Stewart and the mascot became a global success. The mascot was to gain world-wide fame as the television and newspaper images were flashed around the world.
Now we should ponder, had the Committee forged ahead with the mascot Lachie would have been presented with a giant haggis instead? How about that for an iconic image? Imagine how many haggis mascots would have been sold? Is it a matter of regret about a missed opportunity? Ironically the 1978 Edmonton games became the first to have an official mascot. So Canada who gave us the commonwealth games also gave us the mascot. A golden opportunity for a Scottish first missed.