The 2014 Commonwealth Games will start with a bang -- a big bang -- as organizers have announced they will explode five nearby apartment buildings to kick off their opening ceremony.
The violent demise of the crumbling, 30-story Red Road towers in Glasgow, Scotland, will be televised to a worldwide audience and shown on a 328-foot video screen for the crowd inside Celtic Park.
"It will be a ceremony like no other, showcasing our city’s unique style and personality," said Gordon Matheson, leader of the Glasgow City Council. "We are going to wow the world, with the demolition of the Red Road flats set to play a starring role."
The aging complex has been a part of the city's skyline since the 1960s but has more recently fallen into disfavor and disrepair. It was set to be demolished in stages over the next two years. That schedule was accelerated and consolidated for the sake of the Games.
The 15-second explosion is being called the biggest of its kind in European history. Hundreds of residents in adjacent neighborhoods will be temporarily evacuated.
“This spectacular start ... will send a strong signal about the power of the Commonwealth Games," said David Zolkwer, artistic director for the competition. “For many people, these Games are more than sport, they are a chance for regeneration, renewal and having better places to live and work.”
The Games, which include athletes from 70 nations, are scheduled for July 23-Aug. 3.