Take a look back at the 1986 Edinburgh Commonwealth Games with these 15 amazing archive photos

It's been 33 years since the eventful - and controversial - Commonwealth Games of 1986 in Edinburgh.

Tuesday, 23rd July 2019, 13:33 pm
The Games mascot Big Nessie entertains the crowds at the opening ceremony of the Edinburgh Commonwealth Games 1986, held at Meadowbank stadium.

The Games went down in history thanks to a toxic mixture of political machinations, financial headaches and a corrupt newspaper owner. Take a look back at the controversial event in these archive photos of sportsmen, mascots and spectators.

In 1970 Edinburgh had hosted what was considered the best and biggest Games ever, so to many it only seemed natural that the city should host them again in 1986.
The Royal Commonwealth Pool and Meadowbank Stadium were still in good condition. Even the velodrome was still going strong.
An entirely new Meadowbank Station was built specifically to be used for a shuttle service during the Games.

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The Games required 1000 volunteers in total for the games, including drivers, stewards and security staff.
Lord Provost Kenneth Borthwick was in charge of sponsorship for the event, but according to then Labour leader of the council Alex Wood, he was out of his depth. Thatcher declared there would be no government cash for the games.
On June 19, Robert Maxwell took over as the chairman of the event and promised 2 million. It looked like the financial worries for the Games had been solved.
However the Games were not yet in the clear. Just ten days before the event, Margaret Thatcher - who was PM at the time - declared she would not support sanctions against apartheid South Africa.
From that moment the Games began to sink. The Friendly Games fast became known as the "Boycott Games" as countries dropped out like flies, unwilling to be seen supporting apartheid in any form.
Ultimately 32 of the 59 eligible countries boycotted the Games removing 1500 athletes.
Sponsors pulled out, leaving just 4m of the expected 12m and the deficit began to climb.
Only 26 nations eventually participated some arrived in Edinburgh only to discover their governments had joined the boycott. It was the lowest turnout at the Games since 1950.
And yet despite it all, the public flocked to Meadowbank. The opening ceremony involved 6500 children from all over Scotland singing and dancing while the cast list of sporting champs was incredible.
Overall, Team Scotland won three golds from a medal haul of 33 and came sixth in the medal table while England topped it.
But away from the track and field, controversy raged. The money Maxwell promised had not been forthcoming. He gave just 250,000 and it took three years before all bills were paid the deficit was 4.3m at the end of the Games
Yet Maxwell ensured favourable coverage of the Games through his newspapers, gaining millions of pounds worth of positive publicity. Indeed some believe that without him the Edinburgh Games would have been a total embarrassment.