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Dram good time for Glasgow 2014 comic turned commentator

Dram good time for Glasgow 2014 comic turned commentator

In a mammoth and majestic 11 days of sport, only one man can say he had the first and last word.

As Glasgow welcomed the world for the Commonwealth Games, Alan Anderson ditched the drams to commentate on time trials and triathlons.

The ‘Whisky for Dafties’ comic was on the microphone when the first and last medals of the sporting extravaganza were awarded for the women’s triathlon and men’s road race respectively.

Reflecting on the ‘greatest Games ever’ before a mammoth ten-hour session on the mic for the final events on Sunday, it’s safe to say Alan is one of the thousands who are sad to see our Commonwealth cousins leave.

“Absolutely I will miss the Games. I’ve been having an absolute ball with the best seats in the house," Alan said.

“What’s been particularly good is going out on the courses with many of the riders from different nations.

“Without a doubt the most fun nations have been the Caribbean boys. Guyana especially were a really good laugh, we even got them on the weegie wheels bikes.”

  (Alan Anderson)
via STV via STV

A long-time triathlon competitor and self-confessed “bike geek”, the opportunity to not only commentate on such an international cycling event but also ride along with global stars was one Alan could not pass up.

As well as teams from the Cayman Islands, Kenya, Australia and Canada, Alan cycled alongside some of the Sri Lankan cyclists who caused a stir by riding along the M74, albeit not when they were tearing along one of Scotland’s busiest roads.

One of his favourite Games moments did involve Sri Lankans, but in another sporting discipline, when the Glasgow crowd adopted them as their own.

“If you went to the rugby sevens, you’ll know what I mean when I say this is one of the moments of the Games...’U-gan-da, U-gan-da’," chants Alan.

“The Glasgow crowd were right behind them when they were playing Sri Lanka. Then they started winning and all of a sudden, you could feel 40 or 50 thousand people feeling a bit wrong supporting the favourite and decide to start chanting ’Sri-Lan-ka, Sri-Lan-ka’.

“The next day I was wandering along the Broomielaw and saw a group of Ugandan men in the lead group of the marathon. Next thing I heard a group who must have been at the sevens going ‘U-gan-da, U-gan-da’.

“The spread of that chant was incredible. That was my sporting highlight, the way Glasgow got behind athletes from all the Commonwealth nations.

“They were really welcomed to the city and egged on to do their best.”

Although he has been involved with the Glasgow Triathlon Club for many a year and was once a bike courier in Glasgow city centre, Alan is better known for his Whisky for Dafties show, which you can see at Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival from Aug 5-9 and 20-24.

In a non-sporting sense, one of his Glasgow 2014 highlights came while performing on stage at Jongleurs on the first Friday of the Games.

“I walked along to the gig through the Merchant City in the sunshine. When I got there, there was an amazing feeling of warmth in the entire room until one audience member was outed as being a train driver," Alan said.

“Suddenly an entire room of 220 people turned on this train driver because of the state of the trains the past two or three days and the drivers were getting a Games bonus of £150 a day or something ridiculous like that.

“I hope tourists here for the Games do come through to Edinburgh because it’s the biggest arts festival in the world, and it would be a bit silly coming all this way then not going to it.

“I hope Monday morning there isn’t flight after flight of people leaving Scotland.”

Whisky for Dafties and commentary are Alan’s focus for now, although you may well see him do cycling comedy in the future, if he can find the time.

While the athletic pursuits are decidedly different hobbies from deciphering your favourite drams, Alan seems to have just as much passion for cycling and triathlon.

“You can’t beat open water swimming in Loch Lomond. There’s nothing more serene than bobbing about in the middle of Loch Lomond at eight or nine o’clock, just you and the water and some geese," said the Glasgow comic.

“With cycling, you can get out the city and into the hills really quickly. In 15 minutes, it’s just you, some cows, hills and a tractor.”

The legacy of Glasgow 2014 is a hot topic, with locals wanting to see practical benefits from the millions spent on delivering the Games.

For Alan, there’s a clear and enduring benefit in both a sporting and cultural sense.

He said: “Glasgow Triathlon Club have been at Strathclyde Park for almost 10 years and every year the facilities get better and better and better.

“I can see the annual triathlon there becoming one of the biggest in the UK. People around the UK have seen how stunning it is and I think they’ll want to challenge themselves on the course that broke everyone but the Brownlee brothers.

“In the triathlon, my stand-out sporting moment was Marc Austin’s performance in the men’s triathlon. I was there when he went his first open water swim years ago at Loch Lomond. It’s fantastic to see how he has progressed.

“He was one of only two others out the water at the same time as the Brownlee brothers. He showed remarkable courage and strength and he’s going to be much better after that. He's one to watch for Rio 2016.

“In a wider sense, they wanted it to be the Games of public transport and cycling and it has been. The amount of bikes in the city centre at 10 or 11pm has been absolutely brilliant.

“People have rediscovered how easy it is to get around Glasgow on two wheels.”

If you caught Alan's commentary and want to hear more from him, you can see him at the Edinburgh Fringe.

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