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1. Our first ‘map’ is the whole globe. The Commonwealth of Nations has its historical roots in the old British Empire and, as they used to say, “The sun never sets on the Brit
ish Empire.” Established in 1949, the Commonwealth is a looser association of nations drawn together by ties of history, culture and language, with all member states having free and equal status. India, Australia and Canada are some of the largest member nations.
2. Our second map is Saint Helena, which has to be one of the smallest. It’s a tropical island in the South Atlantic with a population of fewer than 5000 people. Their team has shown enormous commitment already, though. Saint Helena’s first airport won’t be completed until 2016, and the island is more than 2000km from the nearest large land mass, so the journey to get their team to the Games deserves a medal on its own.
3. And, at last, here we are in Glasgow, where the opening ceremony takes place tonight, and where the vast majority of the events will be staged. If you’re going to be visiting, don’t forget to take some HERE-powered apps with you. The easiest place to start is the Glasgow City Page on here.com, or the equivalent pages in the Windows 8.1 app.
4. Glasgow is a big, bustling city with loads to see and do. But if you’re in Glasgow, then you aren’t far from the Trossachs, a national park that offers some of the best scenery that Scotland has to offer. So it'd be an enormous shame to miss out on a trip. If you’re wandering the glens, though, make sure you have downloaded the map of Scotland onto your Windows Phone – it’ll keep you on track even without a signal.
5. Back to sport, and here we are in Jamaica, from where two of the world’s most exciting runners have travelled to take part in the Commonwealth Games. Six-times Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt will be competing, though only in the 4x100m relay, following an unfortunate foot injury. Fellow Jamaican sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the reigning champion of the Womens’ 100m, will be seeking to reaffirm her dominance in Glasgow, too.
6. Mo Farah, Sir Bradley Wiggins and Tom Daley are three of the best-known English hopefuls taking part in the Commonwealth Games. Here we are in Eccleston, a small village in Lancashire, England, with a population only slightly higher than that of Saint Helena. Why here? Because it’s Wiggins’ hometown and not too far from where I grew up. With four Olympic medals for cycling and as the first British winner of the Tour de France in 2012, there’s a lot of hopes resting on the 34-year old. Go Wiggo!
7. And lastly, here we are in Australia, which is about as far away as you can get from Glasgow. So why are we here? Because Australia is the nation to fear at the Commonwealth Games. They have amassed 804 gold medals in past Games – that’s out of less than 3000 in total. And they’re the only team to have won more than 2000 medals in total. They’ve also hosted the Games four times - more than any other country in the world – and will host it again when the next Games come around in 2018. Annoyingly, the Australians seem to be good at every sport.
It’s not a serious rivalry, though. The Commonwealth Games are also known as the ‘friendly games’. It’s all about good sportsmanship, the spectacle and everyone doing their best. So good luck everyone.
Who are you supporting in the Games?