4 things you need to know about the Commonwealth Games

As the curtain closes Sunday on Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games — involving athletes from former British colonies — the attention across Scotland will inevitably turn to the upcoming referendum on independence. For a tiny window of time, however, Scots have obsessed about something else and proved to the world that — even in rain-soaked conditions — they can pull off a successful multination sporting extravaganza.

Some highlights:

1. Usain Bolt thought the games were awesome

Or did he? The world’s fastest man caused a wee storm when he reportedly told a Times of London reporter, while waiting in the rain for his car, that the games were “a bit s***” and that the “Olympics were better.” Bolt dismissed the reports as “nonsense” and turned up his mega-watt charm, tweeting that the Commonwealth Games were “awesome” and “crazy energy.” He even danced to the Proclaimers’ "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" just moments before his team won gold in the 4x100-meter relay.

The Times stood by its report.

2. Scotland’s record medal count

In front of roaring home crowds, Scottish athletes ran, swam and cycled their way to their greatest medal haul in the event's history. Team Scotland came in fourth in the medal table (behind England, Australia and Canada) with 53 medals, smashing its previous best of 33 medals. There were countless gutsy performances, such as that of swimmer Erraid Davies, who at the tender age of 13 became Scotland’s youngest medal winner, and Lynsey Sharp, who, the night before her silver-medal-winning 800-meter run, was in a hospital throwing up with an intravenous drip in her arm.

3. A gay kiss

Scotland let the world know how it felt about the fact that being gay is a crime in 42 of the countries competing in the games when John Barrowman, a Scottish American actor, kissed a man at a mock wedding early on in the Opening Ceremony.

4. The Queen of photobombing

The royals were a fixture during the games, sometimes popping up at sporting events, sometimes in the background of other people’s photos. A grinning Queen Elizabeth II arguably upstaged them all when she photobombed an Australian hockey player’s selfie.

Karla Adam is a reporter in the Washington Post’s London bureau. Before joining the Post in 2006, she worked as a freelancer in London for the New York Times and People magazine.
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