They couldn’t have done more to spice up Emily Campbell’s performance at the Commonwealth Games.
The flamboyant England flag-bearer was greeted by weightlifting’s first-ever live DJ set and a crowd of fluorescent wristbands that turned green to celebrate good lifts.
The women’s 87+ kg competition was preceded by a local school choir who sang an uplifting song dedicated to legendary strength athlete Precious McKenzie.
At 4ft 6in, 86 years old and described as the Queen’s favorite athlete, McKenzie took to the platform and called it the “greatest day of my life”.
No pressure for Campbell to deliver the goods in the form of their first Commonwealth gold.
She did this well, with a game record total of 286 kg, which was 3 kg heavier than her Tokyo total, and set new personal bests in both the snatch and clean and jerk.
Campbell said: “Leading the home nation at a game is a privilege and something I will remember forever.
“The reason we come here is to perform on this stage. To achieve this perfect performance on stage as well, you could call it perfect games.
“An Olympic medal is what everyone on this planet wants to achieve. But there is something very special about the Commonwealth, the people of the Commonwealth.
“The atmosphere in the village and in the arenas was special and to round it all off with today’s performance I couldn’t ask for more.”
McKenzie, the last weightlifter before Campbell to carry the English flag at those games, gave a pep talk in his own inimitable way before the competition.
Campbell said, “His words before today were, ‘Everyone expects you to win, go out and win.’ I really couldn’t have asked for better advice from him.
“If Precious McKenzie tells you to go out and win, you go out and win.”
As the first British weightlifter to win an Olympic medal, Campbell has won medals at all four majors in the space of a year – silver in Tokyo, bronze in the world, gold in Europe and now a Commonwealth title.
Stowers started with a 250 lb (121 kg) snatch, but Campbell then set a game record of 124, sticking his tongue out in glee with a barbell raised.
Fans were cheered on by Dame Kelly Holmes and cheered on by weightlifting’s first-ever live DJ set, a barrage of fluorescent bracelets.
Clean and jerky, Stowers failed twice at 154 and Campbell ripped 162 to send the crowd wild.
She said: “I don’t think we’ve ever had an audience that huge and that reactive.
“They loved hugging everyone that was out there and that’s everything you want from a weightlifting competition.
“These weights are heavy, you have to lift them all by yourself, and to have that crowd behind you is awesome.”
Campbell has all the medals, awards and fans she could need at the age of 28 but still has a long way to go in the sport.
She said: “Everything is a stepping stone on the way to Paris, it’s getting closer.
“We have world championships at the end of the year so I have to go back and refocus and prepare for that. I take every competition as it comes and always try to assert myself
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https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/commonwealth-games/emily-campbell-weightlifting-gold-precious-mckenzie-b2137528.html Emily Campbell wows the crowds in Birmingham with stunning weightlifting gold