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Sunday 01 November 2015
The 2015 World Gymnastics Championships in Glasgow has been praised as one of the greatest occasions in the history of the sport by Federation Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG) President, Professor Bruno Grandi.
Speaking at the closing press conference for the pioneering event, which saw a record 594 of the world’s finest gymnasts from a record 87 nations gather in Scotland’s biggest city, the lead figurehead of the sport’s international governing body was effusive in his praise.
He said: “I believe Glasgow was super. Thank you very much. Thank you because gymnastics needed to be organised like this. Gymnastics is a beautiful sport.
“You look at the presentation and the gymnast has become the protagonist. They have been at the centre of the sport. Times before, we have forgotten this as a sport. In Glasgow, with this presentation, I believe it has been better here than at the Olympic Games.
“We have become, with Glasgow, professional. I hope today continues in the same mood as the rest of the event and we will have had one of the best, maybe the best, World Championships.”
The Championships, which provided a number of historic moments, including record consecutive All-Around titles for both Japan’s Kohei Uchimura and Simone Biles of USA (with six and three, respectively) has been widely lauded as a landmark moment for the sport.
Glasgow’s SSE Hydro has been pivotal in this achievement, breaking with convention to provide the one of the finest venues in 46 editions of the Artistic Championships. As well as an ‘in-the-round’ field of play, innovations included the majestic ‘Mega Wall’ screen and an eye-catching podium design, both of which placed an incredible 55,341 paying spectator at the heart of the action over 10 days of top class competition. With delegations, media, sponsors and guests, the total attendance number was in excess of 70,000.
Echoing Grandi’s comments, an immensely proud Jane Allen, CEO of British Gymnastics, explained that 2015 will stand as a benchmark for all future host cities.
She said: “This is a momentous day for us. This is the final day of the championships that was started back in 2011 when the bid was won in Glasgow. A group of people came together to discuss how we were going to make this event one of the best world championships. That was our goal.
“Our role was to make sure as an Olympic qualifier that it would remain the highest of standards for the athletes so they could achieve their ambitions and their goals and the athlete would be the focus of the event.
“I believe today that we have delivered an event that has taken gymnastics into a new era. We have shown that if you come to a gymnastics event, you can be entertained and that the best athletes in the world can have an arena and a stage where they can perform at their best and feel they are centre stage to the best competition in the world.
“We hope the standards that have been set here and the methods by which the event has been presented will be a new benchmark for the FIG and these events will be taken forward to the next level.”
With the Rio Olympic Games next year, the next World Gymnastics Championships will take place in 2017, when Montreal will have the honour of welcoming the world’s most talented artistic gymnasts.
Officials gathered in Glasgow agreed that the Canadian city, host of the 1976 Olympics, now has an exceptional precedent to follow in order to build on the spectator and athlete experience.
Steve Butcher, FIG Men’s Technical Committee President, said:
“I think back from the London Olympics to the Commonwealth Games that were here to this Glasgow World Championships, and the words that come to my mind are innovation, hospitality, professionalism and spirit, because the spectators here have really embraced the efforts of all of the athletes from all of the countries. What a send-off we have for Rio!”
Councillor Frank McAveety, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said:
"It has been a truly incredible World Gymnastics Championships and once again Glasgow has shone on the world stage. It has been a real team effort but special praise must go to the gymnasts. They have raised the bar and history was made during 10 days of world-class sporting action.
"But of course People Make Glasgow. And that was in evidence throughout these championships with attendances of over 55,000 - a historic achievement. Along with our army of volunteers, they were the heart of the event."
Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said:
“Glasgow can be immensely proud in the incredible spectacle that it has created, providing spectators and athletes with a World Gymnastics Championships that will live long in the memory and set the benchmark for all future occasions of international significance for the sport.
“It has been an honour to welcome an occasion of such magnitude to Scotland and I believe that it has served as yet another terrific example of our standing as the perfect stage for the world’s greatest sporting events.”
Simon Morton, Chief Operating Officer of UK Sport, said:
“The 2015 World Gymnastics Championships have been a benchmark event for both the UK and for the sport. Not only has the British team achieved a record medal haul and qualification for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, but the innovations that we’ve made to showcase the sport to record crowds will help change the way that gymnastics will be staged in the future.
“This has only been possible through the unique collaboration between FIG, British Gymnastics, UK Sport, Glasgow City Council and EventScotland.”