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Blast from the past

The opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games takes place tonight in Celtic Park. Events on the track don’t kick off until Sunday, so in the meantime we’ve got 12 unforgettable memories to get you pumped for Glasgow.

1954 Vancouver – Men’s Mile Final

Dubbed the “Miracle Mile”, Roger Bannister’s defeat of John Landy at the Empire Stadium has taken on iconic status.

Both men – Bannister first, followed by Landy – had earlier in the year become the first in history to crack the four-minute mile. Their Vancouver match-up saw both achieve the feat in the same race to create track history.

Watch as Bannister reels in Landy in the second half of the race, kicking past the Australian for an epic win.

1974 Christchurch – Men’s 1500m Final

This is the race many regard as the finest 1500m in history, with Filbert Bayi hacking nearly a second from Jim Ryun’s world record. The Tanzanian executed the perfect front-running performance – a tactic that has served David Rudisha so well in recent years.

Much to the delight of the crowd, a late surge from Kiwi John Walker’s saw him dip under Ryun’s time. But it wasn’t enough and the race, along with the record, belonged to Bayi.

1990 Auckland – Men’s 800m Final

In what was supposed to be a glorious finale to a glittering athletics career, Seb Coe, struggling with a glandular virus, placed sixth in his last ever race.

Sammy Tirop led home a Kenyan 1-2, while Englishman Matthew Yates claimed a shock bronze medal – much to the excitement of BBC commentary maestro David Coleman.

1970 Edinburgh – Men’s 5000m Final

“Those legs like pieces of black elastic stretching out,” cries fabled BBC commentator David Coleman in another piece of commentary gold.

The legs in question belonged to Kip Keino, the cries coming as the Kenyan trailblazer threatened to strike on the crown of the final bend of the men’s 5000m in Edinburgh.

Yet on this occasion Keino, the reigning Olympic 1500m champion, could not respond as the Scottish pair of Ian Stewart and Ian McCafferty, who were roared on by a partisan home crowd to take a memorable 1-2.

1974 Christchurch – Men’s 400m hurdles final

England’s Alan Pascoe may have destroyed the best in the Commonwealth from the outside lane, but what everyone really remembers is his embarrassing post-race celebration when he attempts - with very rubbery legs - to clear a hurdle only to fall on his backside slapstick style...twice.

Pure athletics comedy gold.

1982 Brisbane – Men’s 200m Final

The first and only dead heat in Commonwealth Games history. Absolutely nothing could separate Scot Allan Wells from Englishman Mike McFarlane as both flashed across the line in 20.43. A classic.

1982 Brisbane – Women’s 400m Final

These games were lit up by Australian sprint icon Raelene Boyle. She signed off from a majestic career with a comprehensive victory in the 400m to notch her seventh Commonwealth gold medal. Some 18 years later, the Sydney Olympics would see another Aussie emerge as the golden girl in the form of Cathy Freeman.

1990 Auckland – Women’s 3000m final

Angela Chalmers is the only woman in the history of the Commonwealth Games to successfully defend a 3000m title. The first of those two titles came in Auckland, where she also took gold in the 1500m.

Here she runs a tactically perfect race, picking off the group of talented Scottish runners who had led throughout. A classy burst in the final stretch sees her breeze past Yvonne Murray to complete the first half of an historic double.

1990 Auckland – Men’s 5000m Final

Listen to the Aussie commentators as their man Andrew “Lloydy” Lloyd broke John Ngugi’s heart in this piece of Commonwealth folklore.

Ngugi, the 1988 Olympic 5000m champion, had taken a tumble in the second lap of the race leaving him well behind the pack. The effort he had to invest to regain the lead would ultimately cost him at the last.

But nobody could deny Lloydy his moment – just five years earlier he had been in a car crash which claimed his wife’s life. Seven operations to his ankle and elbow later came this heroic race.

1998 Kuala Lumpur – Men’s 100m final

“Hello Ato” barks the Aussie commentator as Trinidad’s Ato Boldon roars to victory in Malaysia. It needed a world-class run to beat the world-class 100m field, and that’s exactly what Boldon provided – his time of 9.88 was within 0.04 of Donovan Bailey’s world record.

2006 Melbourne – Women’s Marathon

The lead swapped between Kerryn McCann and Kenyan Hellen Cherono Koskei an astonishing six times over the final two kilometers, a stretch that included an agonising climb back towards the MCG Stadium.

Roared on by 100,000 screaming Aussies, McCann took the victory over the final metres. She had taken gold in the same event four years earlier in Manchester, but this was the race she described as her greatest victory. Spine-tingling stuff.

2006 Melbourne – Men’s 5000m final

Craig Mottram, like Kerryn McCann backed by a home crowd of 100,000 in the cavernous MCG, couldn’t quite deliver gold as he finally had to concede defeat to diminutive Kenyan Augustine Choge.

Co-commentator Steve Ovett described it as one of the greatest 5000m races ever. Few would disagree.