Glasgow 2018 gymnastics

The Glasgow bounce

How two sports used a major event to promote development

Glasgow 2018 was a resounding success. Hosting six European Championships in different sports at the same time was an ambitious goal and the event surpassed expectations.

When the time came to celebrate the highlights of the sporting year, Glasgow 2018 featured strongly and was named Sporting Event of the Year at the 2018 Sunday Mail sportscotland Scottish Sports Awards.

But once the red carpet has been rolled up and the medals hung on the wall for posterity, how does the sporting system derive an enduring benefit from the major events that are frequently held in Scotland?

We asked two of the participating sports in Glasgow 2018 to tell us how they capitalised on the buzz created by the championships and used it as a vehicle for development.

Scottish Gymnastics

Gymnasts from clubs across Scotland were given a unique chance to perform during the European Artistic Gymnastics Championships.

Thanks to Glasgow 2018, Scottish Gymnastics registered clubs were invited to bring teams to The SSE Hydro to display their skills ahead of the men’s team final on Saturday 11 August.

More than 270 gymnasts aged between five and 47 from nine clubs performed on the same floor as the European champions during the Glasgow 2018 Club Showcase. 


Each group had 10 minutes in which they performed routines in front of almost 900 family and friends.

The audience was treated to a showcase of gymnastics skills similar to the hugely popular non-competitive annual Gymfest, which began over 30 years ago to promote gymnastics for all, regardless of ability, age and gender.

Gymfest is now one of the UK’s biggest gymnastics display festival and the biggest event on the Scottish Gymnastics calendar. Teams of gymnasts perform routines which are a unique blend of gymnastic skills, colourful costumes and clever choreography set to music, inspired by popular culture.

Dynamite Gymnastics were first to take to the stage, while Irvine Bay Gymnastics Club brought together 50 gymnasts from five different display teams whose ages ranged from five to 47.

To complete the show, the biggest group of the day from Hamilton Gymnastics Club exploded onto the stage as 75 gymnasts performed ‘Our Greatest Show’, inspired by The Greatest Showman movie.

Gymnastics image from Glasgow 2018

Glasgow 2018 European Championships director Colin Hartley said: “Glasgow 2018 is invested in harnessing the legacy that sporting events of this scale can often leave behind, so we jumped at the chance to offer this unique experience to Scotland’s gymnastics clubs. 

“Gymfest has been a fantastic enterprise by Scottish Gymnastics, making the sport more accessible across the board, so it was a real treat to give the gymnasts the experience of performing in a world class competition arena.”

Euan Lowe, Scottish Gymnastics chief executive, added: “We would like to thank Glasgow 2018 European Championships for giving our member clubs the chance to perform at The SSE Hydro.

“It is always inspiring to see gymnasts of different ages working together and producing such skilful and entertaining performances. For the coaches and gymnasts, being able to enjoy the experience on the Championships floor in a world-class arena made it all the more memorable.” 

Triathlon Scotland

As part of the European Championships, Triathlon Scotland were able to appoint a participation officer funded by Glasgow 2018. The focus was on getting more people active in Glasgow and North Lanarkshire and the part-time post started on 1 November 2017.

The programme for Tri in the Park, a major participation festival, had already been agreed and covered all disciplines from duathlon to aquathlon to team triathlon for athletes aged 15 and above. The cost of entry was kept low to encourage participation.


In all, 110 athletes took part in Tri in the Park, many of them experiencing their first GO TRI event and 27 (nine teams) taking part in the family relay.

A feedback survey afterwards found that 71% of entrants wanted to take part in a longer triathlon and 34% had gone on to join a triathlon club.

After working with the participation officer in the lead-up to their event, Glasgow University Triathlon Club added a GO TRI wave to their aquathlon event, with nine participants taking part.

The standard aquathlon is a 750m pool swim and a 5km run but after consultation the club introduced a wave of 400m swim and 2.5k run to make it more appealing to first-timers. All participants agreed that they would try the longer distance next time.

The first GO TRI Gym training course in Scotland had taken place in March 2018, with candidates from South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture (SLLC) and North Lanarkshire Leisure (NLL).

In May both NLL and SLLC launched a joint GO TRI gym programme. Running for eight weeks from 17 June, the programme was a mixture of gym-based sessions and outdoor sessions and attracted more than 40 participants, who communicated via a private Facebook group in the run-up to the event.

A feedback survey resulted in the following quote:

“This has been such an amazing experience. At the start I couldn’t swim with my head in the water and I couldn’t even run round the training field.

“It’s been a great group of people to meet and we all support each other and share training tips etc. The Facebook page has been a great way for us all to stay in touch. Personally, this has been a massive boost for my confidence.

“I have been really ill for over a year now with a number of mental health problems. This camp has given me confidence being around people again and it’s given me a goal.”

In addition, two GO TRI event organiser training courses were held in March 2018 to provide event organisers with the knowledge and tools required to add GO TRI events to their calendar. It is hoped this will lead to further GO TRI events in Scotland.

NLL and Active Schools also used the pull of Glasgow 2018 to host their first schools duathlon in Strathclyde Park.

Nearly 700 children from local primary schools (P5-7) took part on the day, running 200m, cycling 2.5km and running 200m.

Working in partnership with Heather McLeod at Good Move, Glasgow, the annual Walking for Health event on Glasgow Green was turned into a duathlon with support from Freewheel North, who provided space for registration and socialising as well as access to adapted bikes.

Two free sessions consisting of a one-mile walk and a slightly longer cycle attracted more than 70 participants, including a group with learning disabilities and a mental health support group.

Triathlon swimmersOn 27 June, Glasgow City’s Development and Regeneration Services held a new team triathlon event at Bellahouston, attended by 14 teams of three athletes and a team manager. Teams were mostly mixed gender and marshals and event staff were provided by the Development and Regeneration Services Department.

The winning team, HSCP, completed the 400m swim, 8km bike and 4km run in 43mins 34secs.

Pinkston Watersports in Glasgow was identified as a potential venue for open water swimming and the SH2Out partnership between British Triathlon and RLSS helped them develop an event. It was partly funded by Glasgow 2018 and in July there was an open-water lifeguard course at Pinkston, which allowed two staff and other triathlon club members to be trained. The open sessions ran from July to September.

Triathlon Scotland

Triathlon Scotland also hosted three beginners sessions at the venue which covered how to get into a wetsuit, acclimatising to water temperature, putting your face in the water and sighting.

Finally Triathlon Scotland, which provided a loan of wetsuits for all events, held a GO TRI camp at Lochore Meadows in Fife. The three-part camp included an open water swim session, a transition session (after parkrun) and a mini triathlon.

Of the 51 participants, half were aged over 40, a third were less active than Scottish Government guidelines and two-thirds were female. There were two visually-impaired athletes, who were provided with guides.

Find out more

  • Visit the Scottish Gymnastics website to find out more about opportunities in gymnastics
  • Triathlon Scotland is committed to continuing to work with event organisers and partners to deliver GO TRI activity. Find out more at the Triathlon Scotland website

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