'Friendly Games' bring smile to 'mean city'

Anna Harrison walks from the court as the Australians celebrate victory.
Anna Harrison walks from the court as the Australians celebrate victory.
Jack Bauer receives his silver medal from the men's road race.
Jack Bauer receives his silver medal from the men's road race.
The silver medals sit awkwardly around the necks of Silver Ferns Casey Kopua, Jodi Brown and Leana de Bruin.
The silver medals sit awkwardly around the necks of Silver Ferns Casey Kopua, Jodi Brown and Leana de Bruin.
Jack Bauer (left) pips Scott Thwaites at the line for the silver medal.
Jack Bauer (left) pips Scott Thwaites at the line for the silver medal.
Cathrin Latu can't hold back her emotions on the medal dais, beside Joline Henry (left) and Laura Langman.
Cathrin Latu can't hold back her emotions on the medal dais, beside Joline Henry (left) and Laura Langman.
Jack Bauer claimed New Zealand's 45th and final medal in Glasgow, with silver in the men's road race.
Jack Bauer claimed New Zealand's 45th and final medal in Glasgow, with silver in the men's road race.
Silver Ferns goal attack Jodi Brown and goal shoot Maria Tutaia reach for the ball in the shooting circle.
Silver Ferns goal attack Jodi Brown and goal shoot Maria Tutaia reach for the ball in the shooting circle.
A devastated Blair Hilton sits on the turf after missing his shot during the shootout for bronze.
A devastated Blair Hilton sits on the turf after missing his shot during the shootout for bronze.
Silver Ferns goal shoot Maria Tutaia gets the feed from Laura Langman.
Silver Ferns goal shoot Maria Tutaia gets the feed from Laura Langman.
New Zealand's Jack Bauer leads the peloton during the men's road race.
New Zealand's Jack Bauer leads the peloton during the men's road race.
Silver Ferns defenders Casey Kopua (left) and Leana de Bruin attempt to grab a rebound.
Silver Ferns defenders Casey Kopua (left) and Leana de Bruin attempt to grab a rebound.
Silver Ferns defenders Casey Kopua (left) and Leana de Bruin both block the shot attempt of Natalie Medhurst.
Silver Ferns defenders Casey Kopua (left) and Leana de Bruin both block the shot attempt of Natalie Medhurst.
Kiwi Jack Bauer in the pack during the men's road race.
Kiwi Jack Bauer in the pack during the men's road race.
Linda Villumsen crosses the line in fifth during the women's road race.
Linda Villumsen crosses the line in fifth during the women's road race.
Black Sticks goalkeeper Devon Manchester and captain Dean Couzins cannot stop a high England shot.
Black Sticks goalkeeper Devon Manchester and captain Dean Couzins cannot stop a high England shot.
Joelle King looks to play a forehand drop-shot during the mixed doubles bronze medal match.
Joelle King looks to play a forehand drop-shot during the mixed doubles bronze medal match.
Devon Manchester attempts to stop the shot of Nick Catlin during the shootout.
Devon Manchester attempts to stop the shot of Nick Catlin during the shootout.
New Zealand riders speed past during the women's road race.
New Zealand riders speed past during the women's road race.
Black Stick Alex Shaw gets up close and personal with the turf.
Black Stick Alex Shaw gets up close and personal with the turf.
New Zealander Emily Collins rides at the front of the peloton during the women's road race.
New Zealander Emily Collins rides at the front of the peloton during the women's road race.
New Zealand's Hugo Inglis successfully makes his shot during the bronze medal shootout.
New Zealand's Hugo Inglis successfully makes his shot during the bronze medal shootout.
Joelle King and Martin Knight both lunge for a shot during the mixed doubles bronze medal match.
Joelle King and Martin Knight both lunge for a shot during the mixed doubles bronze medal match.

It began amid a heatwave and ended in torrential rain, but the outlook was otherwise fine for New Zealand after Glasgow brought down the curtain on its Commonwealth Games.

A 45-medal haul, their best at an offshore Games, was the tangible return for the $4.4 million spent by the New Zealand Olympic Committee on a campaign involving 232 athletes and around 120 officials.

It wasn't cheap, and the NZOC confirmed that a $1 million deficit on the campaign would be funded from its cash reserves. Gold Coast in four years time would be more fiscally friendly.

It was all smiles on a cloudy day in Glasgow as thousands gathered at Hampden Park for the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony.
It was all smiles on a cloudy day in Glasgow as thousands gathered at Hampden Park for the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony.
Lulu led the closing ceremony with some Scottish pop.
Lulu led the closing ceremony with some Scottish pop.
It was a pop concert bonanza at Hampden Park as a star-studded stage lit up the athletics arena.
It was a pop concert bonanza at Hampden Park as a star-studded stage lit up the athletics arena.
Queensland Minister for the Commonwealth Games Jann Stuckey speaks as part of the formalities at the closing ceremony as the Games' federation banner is prepared to be given to the Gold Coast mayor.
Queensland Minister for the Commonwealth Games Jann Stuckey speaks as part of the formalities at the closing ceremony as the Games' federation banner is prepared to be given to the Gold Coast mayor.
A reveller relishes the party at Hampden Park.
A reveller relishes the party at Hampden Park.
With the handover to Gold Coast complete, it was time for Australia singer Jessica Mauboy to rock the closing ceremony party.
With the handover to Gold Coast complete, it was time for Australia singer Jessica Mauboy to rock the closing ceremony party.
For a moment it looked like the Wiggles were getting in on the act at the closing ceremony; instead it was Australia team captain Sally Pearson.
For a moment it looked like the Wiggles were getting in on the act at the closing ceremony; instead it was Australia team captain Sally Pearson.
It wouldn't be a showcase of what to expect when the Games hit Australia without a performance from the one-and-only Kylie Minogue.
It wouldn't be a showcase of what to expect when the Games hit Australia without a performance from the one-and-only Kylie Minogue.
Go Kylie!
Go Kylie!
I should be so lucky.
I should be so lucky.
Two girls embrace the party spirit at the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony.
Two girls embrace the party spirit at the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony.
A heaving crowd gathered at Hampden Park for the closing ceremony.
A heaving crowd gathered at Hampden Park for the closing ceremony.
It wouldn't be a Scottish celebration without bagpipes.
It wouldn't be a Scottish celebration without bagpipes.
The closing ceremony paid tribute to Glasgow city workers who got the venues ready for the Games.
The closing ceremony paid tribute to Glasgow city workers who got the venues ready for the Games.
City workers relish their moment as the Commonwealth salutes their efforts in preparing Glasgow for the Games.
City workers relish their moment as the Commonwealth salutes their efforts in preparing Glasgow for the Games.
There was some traditional Scottish culture to go with the modern.
There was some traditional Scottish culture to go with the modern.
At first glance it looked like there was an Occupy protest going on mid-ceremony, but it was all part of the act.
At first glance it looked like there was an Occupy protest going on mid-ceremony, but it was all part of the act.
Closing ceremony performers show off their dance steps.
Closing ceremony performers show off their dance steps.
Gret skies in Glasgow are lit up by fireworks at the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony.
Gret skies in Glasgow are lit up by fireworks at the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony.
Emergency services were close at hand.
Emergency services were close at hand.

View Stuff's Commonwealth Games medal table.


GOLDEN GIRL: Valerie Adams celebrates winning gold in the women's shot put in Glasgow.
GOLDEN GIRL: Valerie Adams celebrates winning gold in the women's shot put in Glasgow.

The ''friendly Games'' in the so-called ''mean city'' was a cracking show as Glasgow applied its makeup, opened its doors and smiled warmly.

So too should the bulk of New Zealand's team be pleased with their work as they kicked up their heels after a rollicking 11 days.

Team chef de mission Rob Waddell's final public pronouncement was to confirm gold medal weightlifter Richie Patterson as their closing ceremony flagbearer, as headline act Kylie Minogue prepared to take the stage at Hampden Park to kick off Gold Coast's countdown.

LEADING KIWI: Commonwealth Games silver medallist Jack Bauer is one of the headline acts in the 10-strong NZ team for the road cycling world champs in Spain later this month.
LEADING KIWI: Commonwealth Games silver medallist Jack Bauer is one of the headline acts in the 10-strong NZ team for the road cycling world champs in Spain later this month.

Success was judged by medals and potential to excel at the Rio Olympics in 2016, and using that yardstick New Zealand received a pass mark for Glasgow, even if the four major teams (rugby sevens, netball, men's and women's hockey) all underperformed.

The New Zealand medal tally equalled their Manchester effort 12 years ago when 45 (11 gold) were hauled in. That placed them sixth on the medal table, with India rounding out the top-five behind England, Australia, Canada and the host nation. England's 58 golds beat Australia's tally by nine.

God Defend New Zealand was played 14 times, the country's second-best gold medal haul in 20 Commonwealth/Empire Games after the 17 won in Auckland in 1990.

There was an eclectic mix on the highest level of the dais; including Patterson, velodrome sprint king Sam Webster, shooter Sally Johnston, bowler Jo Edwards and two teenagers; Canterbury mountainbiker Anton Cooper and Waikato boxer David Nyika.

The latter two provided the best Kiwi moments and endeared themselves to a wider public with their unbridled emotion.

Cooper's ecstatic celebration atop his bike after bursting clear, and Nyika's sobs atop the dais after embracing his jubilant parents deserve to grace highlights reels for years.

Jack Bauer's silver in the road race gave cycling 15 medals, exactly one-third of New Zealand's haul. The men (and Linda Villumsen) on wheels were the rock stars while the combat sports judo and boxing punched above their weight.

Triathlon, swimming and the team sports all carried a must-do-better tagline, their subsequent campaigns in the hands of High Performance Sport NZ's funding team.

The media contingent arrived in Glasgow on sleepy Sunday wondering if a world-class sporting event was actually about to break out, and departed with our faith restored.

The axis of three quality stadiums, Celtic Park, Hampden Park and Ibrox Stadium hosted the big ticket events, while the smaller venues for judo, boxing and weightlifting heaved.

A stern-faced cabbie summed it up at the midway point as thousands poured towards Hampden Park for the athletics.

"I was dreading the Games, now I don't want them to end."

Neither did the Glasgow public who wanted the Commonwealth to see they could stand on their own two feet and put on a show like London did two years ago, on a smaller scale.

Families flooded the streets to the stadiums with expectant looks, children clutching their Clyde mascots.

Usain Bolt and Clyde were the most-seen stars of the Games. The mascot with spiky purple hair was so popular that supplies of him sold out at souvenir shops with days remaining.

The Rio Olympics would take centre stage in two years' time, then Gold Coast opened its doors for the 21st Commonwealth Games in April 2018.

Games were costly exercises and they weren't everyone's cup of tea, but the past 11 days have proved their benefits far outweigh the pitfalls.

Can Gold Coast put on a better show than what we've seen here? As Kylie would say, they should be so lucky.

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