Athletes Aileen McGlynne OBE and Louise Haston view new display at Riverside Museum charting their Glasgow 2014 journey, featuring the Queens baton relay and life-sized statue of Mascot Clyde.
A display focusing on the double silver medal winning athletes, Aileen McGlynn, OBE and Louise Haston is on show at Riverside Museum, Glasgow. Blood Sweat and Gears traces their personal journey to success in the Para-Sport Track Cycling competitions at the ‘best-ever’ Commonwealth Games. The iconic Queens Baton Relay is part of the display, alongside a life-sized fibreglass statue of the unforgettable Glasgow 2014 mascot, Clyde.
It was ground-breaking to feature Para-Sports Cycling at Glasgow 2014: such an event had never been staged before in Commonwealth Games history, thus symbolising a pioneering move by the host city. This display reflects on this significant moment in sports history by focusing on the athletes’ journey to the Games and their subsequent success.
In a radical approach to enhance Glasgow Museums’ contemporary collection, Riverside Museum embarked on a ground-breaking initiative. Thought to be the first of its kind by any UK museum, it partnered them with the Gold Paralympic medal winning pairing. Glasgow Museums loaned the athletes a new tandem and all associated kit for use in training and competition at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, after which time the objects became part of the city’s permanent collection.
Dressed in their familiar Team Scotland tracksuits, with medals in hand, Aileen McGlynn OBE and Louise Haston were among the very first people to visit Blood, Sweat and Gears. They were joined by two Glasgow City Council employees who were part of the team responsible for the Look and Feel of Glasgow last summer. Museum visitors will recognise the distinctive signposts that directed thousands around the city and now form part of the display.
Aileen McGlynn OBE, said:
“The summer of 2014 was an incredible time for me, competing in front of a home crowd really was a dream come true and winning two silver medals in the process was the icing on the cake.
“I’m delighted to have had the support of Glasgow Museums in this groundbreaking project. It’s a huge honour to be asked to share my Commonwealth Games journey with the visitors at Riverside. It’s a little strange, but a very special experience to walk in to the museum and see both my first bike and the tandem I competed on form part of a display. It completes my journey beautifully and I’m touched to be part of something which celebrates such a momentous summer for the city.”
Louise Haston said:
“Coming into Riverside and taking in the new display transported me straight back to the velodrome last summer and the deafening roar that greeted Aileen and I as we competed for Team Scotland. I still find it quite emotional; it was like nothing I’d ever experienced before.
“Blood Sweat and Gears is special because it not only celebrates the success of Glasgow 2014, but the long, often challenging journey that led up to it. Like me, many people gained a great deal from the city staging such a prestigious sporting event and it’s fantastic to be part of not only the sporting, but the cultural legacy of the Games.”
Chair of Glasgow Life, Councillor Archie Graham, said:
“I am thrilled to see this tremendous new display at Riverside. It brings back a flood of great memories and it’s been a pleasure to relive those with Aileen and Louise, part of Team Scotland who gave us so much to celebrate. This display highlights a little of the determination, effort and sacrifice that goes into the long journey on the road to success.
“We’re delighted to have secured such significant pieces of Commonwealth Games history for the people of Glasgow. Across 12 magical days during summer 2014, the Commonwealth experience was enjoyed in every community in this great city. Glasgow 2014 brought the city to life and we are incredibly proud that it has been honoured as the best Games ever. It is wonderful to be able to come to Riverside and look back at one of the highest points in Glasgow’s history.”
In Blood, Sweat and Gears the athletes reveal their inspiration and where their journeys began. Through carefully selected objects – some personal to Aileen and Louise, such as others associated with the city’s Commonwealth experience – they provide a real insight into training, participating in the Queen’s Baton Relay, living in the Athletes Village and ultimately competing and celebrating success at Glasgow 2014.
The display features items from the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and those used during competition to explore the extreme highs and lows experienced by sports people performing on the world stage. It charts the trials of training, the personal sacrifices such achievement requires and the resilience to adapt to unforeseen events.
Aileen McGlynn’s first bike, a Raleigh Amber, sits alongside the more specialized, Cyfac tandem frame intended for use and the complete Dolan tandem on which Aileen and Louise won double silver at the Sir Chris Hoy velodrome. A fracture in the sophisticated Cyfac cycle frame resulted in the pairing competing on the Dolan tandem cycle. Aileen credits Sir Chris Hoy as her inspiration, thus the cycling shoes he wore during the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games, when he won a gold and a bronze medal, are included. Other exclusive objects including training gear, helmets and even Aileen and Louise’s empty packs of energy supplies, which are presented together with the athletes’ personal testimonies that uncover their tumultuous journey to the Games.
Just two days before winning the first of two silver medals, Aileen ran with the Queen’s Baton in Cardonald, the place where she grew up. She described it as one of the proudest moments in her career. The Queen’s Baton bearer uniform she wore, together with the Queen’s Baton, which covered over 190,000km from 9 October 2013 to the Opening Ceremony at Celtic park on 23 July 2014, is on display.
Several objects give visitors an understanding of life inside the Athlete’s Village, while others will be familiar to many as the Glasgow 2014 Games Route Network and the Look and Feel Wayfinding signage that helped direct athletes, officials and spectators around the city. Completing the display is a section celebrating success, including the iconic wooden Glasgow 2014 podium made by Paul Hodgkiss and a complete set of Gold, Silver and Bronze medals designed by Jonathan Boyd, alongside one of Kerry Nixon’s stunning medal bearer’s dresses.
No look at the ‘best games ever’ would be complete without Clyde, the Games’ unforgettable mascot. One of the 25 life-size fibreglass statues that were dotted around the city will take his place as part of Blood Sweat and Gears for its official opening, before going on his travels around Riverside Museum, where visitors can join in a spot of Clyde n’ seek. This Clyde statue was designed by Michelle Wood, who goes to Abercorn Secondary School Glasgow.
Aileen and Louise were one of only two Scottish female teams to compete in Glasgow 2014’s Para-Sports track cycling events – 1000m Time Trial and Sprint. The novel process and partnership presented Glasgow Museums with a unique opportunity to join them on their journey to and during the Games. It also enabled Glasgow Museums to acquire objects with an immensely significant provenance in a comparatively short period of time for Scotland’s Museum of Transport and Travel.
Blood, Sweat and Gears is situated in the North Window of Riverside Museum, where it will remain until 20 November 2016. It follows on from The Road from Delhi, which charted Glasgow’s journey as host city of the Commonwealth Games from the Closing Ceremony in Delhi in 2010 to Summer 2014. For more information visit www.glasgowmuseums.com/riverside.