Commonwealth Games highlights and lowlights

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.

With the 20th Commonwealth Games having wrapped up in Glasgow, Stuff's journalists on the ground run through the highs and lows from a whirlwind 11 days and New Zealand's bumper medal haul.

HIGHLIGHT?

Nathan Burdon: The track cycling was a veritable feast, headed by Sam Webster winning two golds and coming within half a wheel of a third, but I also loved Richie Patterson's weightlifting gold - especially after he botched his first two clean and jerks and had to complete his final attempt for victory. What drama.

ONE-TWO FINISH: Sam Gaze and Anton Cooper celebrate winning silver and gold for New Zealand in mountain biking.
ONE-TWO FINISH: Sam Gaze and Anton Cooper celebrate winning silver and gold for New Zealand in mountain biking.

Matt Richens: Combat sports. Boxing and judo hadn't won a medal in 12 years and wrestling had waited 28. Under-funded teams over-delivered and were some of the best people at the Games to deal with. The Anton Cooper-Sam Gaze mountain-biking double was also pretty special to witness.

Mark Geenty: Sam Webster beating Olympic champion Jason Kenny for gold in the track sprint final. After losing race two, Webster emptied the tank in the decider and what little he had left to give, he retched into the trackside pit. A powerhouse display and no reason why he can't back up in Rio.

Ian Anderson: Lauren Boyle's 400m freestyle gold. It came a day after a tough loss in the 800m final, it was a breakthrough victory at a major long-course event and her radiant smile seemed to signify a weight had been lifted. Rio looms.

TRACK TRIP: The moment Jake Robertson went to ground after an accidental trip from NZ team-mate Nick Willis, who stepped wide after the contact.
TRACK TRIP: The moment Jake Robertson went to ground after an accidental trip from NZ team-mate Nick Willis, who stepped wide after the contact.

Fred Woodcock: Zane Robertson's brilliant run to claim the bronze in the men's 5000m on the opening day of track and field, made even better by his back story. There's something about seeing the black singlet doing well on the track that gets the spine tingling like nothing else in NZ sport.

LOWLIGHT?

NB: Watching the women's Black Sticks battle for bronze as Glasgow was hit by the tail end of a typhoon. Forgot to bring my Red Bands with me.

MR: The men's and women's hockey teams losing penalty shootouts to England. NO-ONE loses on penalties to England in any sport. And some of the big money sports under-delivering while penny-less sports blossomed.

MG: The mixed triathlon relay. High expectations of a medal and it looked good when Nicky Samuels tagged anchorman Ryan Sissons in clear second spot. It all went wrong for Sissons who had tired legs and made a poor transition from the bike, and it all ended in an underwhelming fifth.

IA: The triathletes. Too many times now they've come up short when it matters. Plenty of funding, but there's no Dochertys or Carters among the current crop yet.   

FW: Netball final. History will record that the Silver Ferns got silver but in truth daylight was second here. An 18-goal losing margin in the only match that mattered - after a lucky escape against England in the semi - capped an ordinary campaign from the two-time defending champions.

NZ'S GAMES OUT OF 10?

NB: 7.5/10 Over delivered in two-wheeled sports and several smaller codes made the most of their time in the sun, but some well-funded sports like swimming and triathlon did not rise to the occasion.

MR: 8/10 - A high medal count and several minor sports and little known athletes pushing for medals is always good to get the patriotic juices flowing. A few flops, too, but not everyone can win a medal. The Kiwis have punched above their weight and far out-performed the Delhi team.

MG: 7 - The haste with which New Zealand topped their Delhi medal tally (inside day seven) had them on track for a half-century. But a late lull removed some gloss as the team sports largely underperformed. Still it's hard to quibble with their overall performance. Chef de mission Rob Waddell deserves a mention for his assured leadership at his first Games.

IA: 6.5. Some of those under pressure again melted - hockey, I'm looking at you. But there was a tidy pile of unexpected medals that have shown the benefit of this competition.

FW: 7.5. Equalled the biggest medal haul on foreign soil, and lapped up 14 gold medals, second only to Auckland 1990, so hard to complain. Cycling stands out, as do some the combat sports, but the high profile team sports failed to deliver under pressure and swimming and triathlon are a concern.

KIWI STAR OF THE GAMES?

NB: Sam Webster won two golds on the first two days of the Games to get the medal charge underway. Three medals in total offers plenty of promise for Rio in two years' time.

MR: The judoka were superb in winning five medals and reminding New Zealand the sport doesn't just exist back home, but is competes at a pretty handy level. Adrian Leat gets my vote as best individual, winning a silver five months after his brother, mate and training partner killed himself.  

MG: First impressions last, and it's hard to go past Sam Webster. The middle man in the sprint team who won New Zealand's first gold, he burst to the forefront by winning the individual and added silver in the keirin.

IA: David Nyika. Beyond any doubt, the 18-year-old Nyika welling up on the podium after his poorly-received gold after a boxing masterclass to win gold in the men's light heavyweight will be what Kiwis most remember from Glasgow 2014.

FW: Two teenage stars emerged with brilliant gold medals; 18-year-old David Nyika capped a meteoric rise in boxing to set himself up for a stellar career while 19-year-old mountain-biker Anton Cooper showed why he has been so highly regarded from a young age with a powerful display.

DID GLASGOW DELIVER AND ARE THE GAMES IN GOOD SHAPE?

NB: As a Games rookie, I loved the experience. This isn't the Olympics and it doesn't pretend to be. The Commonwealth Games have their own character - they provide some sports with their moment on the world stage, while others can use it as a stepping stone for their athletes.

MR: After the Delhi debacle the Games needed a smoothly run, incident free event and they got it. The people have been fantastic and the facilities have been top notch. It's just a shame they've been run in the middle of the night in New Zealand so Kiwi fans probably didn't get the full experience.

MG: Yes. The Games got the shot in the arm they desperately needed as Glasgow ran a seamless show based around their three world-class stadiums, Celtic, Hampden and Ibrox. Depth of competition is still questionable in some sports but it remains a key pathway to the Olympics.

IA: Glasgow barely put a foot wrong - the city was a perfect choice as host. At a time when the future of the Games seemed critical, the event was breathed new life.

FW: There was the odd hiccup but on the whole the event ran superbly and the people were friendly. Using existing infrastructure, as Glasgow did, is a must for future Games. Glasgow reinvigorated the Games and they remain important to New Zealand athletes with Olympic aspirations.

Stuff