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Volume 10 No. 24
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Hangin' With ... Commonwealth Games Federation CEO Mike Hooper

MIKE HOOPER is the CEO of the Commonwealth Games Federation. Hooper, from New Zealand, was appointed the CGF's first full-time CEO in '00. In his tenure, he has overseen the 2002 Manchester Games, the 2006 Melbourne Games and the 2010 Delhi Games. In January, Hooper announced that he would step down from his role following the 2014 Glasgow Games, set to be held from July 23 through Aug. 3.

On what one accomplishment he is most proud of during his tenure...
Hooper: I’ve been very fortunate to have worked with some very talented people both at board and CGA [Commonwealth Games Association] level as well as within respective Organizing Committees and their Games delivery partners. Together we have seen the Games and the Games Movement grow both in size and statute on the world’s sporting stage and I am proud to have been part of this. As an organization over the last 14 years we have been able to substantially enhance the level of support provided to not only Games hosts but importantly to our members across the Commonwealth. As I leave the federation post-Glasgow, it will be in a lot stronger position to that which it was in when I joined back in 2000 and I am equally proud of my contribution in delivering this.

On what makes the city of Glasgow a unique host for this year's event...
Hooper: For me, what is perhaps unique is the way in which the people of Scotland have embraced the Games. The Games, whenever they are held, have commanded substantial support, but in Glasgow and Scotland, this support manifested itself right from the bid stage and has continued to grow. This is evident through the more than 50,000 applications for just 15,000 volunteer positions and the massive demand for tickets across all 17 sports and this with the Games still five months away.

On the importance of bringing big-name athletes, like Bradley Wiggins, to the Games...
Hooper: This is an interesting one not just for the Commonwealth Games, but all major multi-sport events. Whilst it is important that we showcase the best competition the Commonwealth has to offer, history shows, as does indeed Glasgow 2014’s very successful ticketing program to date, that there is strong support across all sports for a Games where sports come together in a multi-sport environment. So, of course, we want the Commonwealth’s top athletes to be part of what is going to be a tremendous celebration of Commonwealth sport in Glasgow, but equally, it is clear that the broader Games experience resonates strongly with the public and other stakeholders.

On the biggest challenge, or issue, facing the next CEO of the Commonwealth Games...
Hooper: Probably managing expectations, be they internal or external. The Commonwealth Games is very much of, and for, the Commonwealth. It does not have the resources of some other major international events and at times this can give rise to unrealistic expectations, particularly from a delivery point of view.

Hangin' With is a weekly feature that runs Fridays in SBD Global.