Baku 2015: History maker Adams enjoys European Games moment

12 June 2015 / 16:08

Nicola Adams has been a standard bearer for women's sport ever since she made Olympic history at London 2012 - in Baku she was a standard bearer for an entire nation.

The two-time world champion is certainly no stranger to firsts. She was the first women's boxer to win an Olympic gold and she led the 160-strong Team GB athlete delegation into the opening ceremony of the first European Games in Azerbaijan.

"It was an amazing experience seeing all the crowd cheering and it was incredible how everything seemed to light up when I came into the stadium with the team," said Adams. 

"It's everything I imagined and more and I'm very proud and honoured to carry the flag for Team GB. It was an unforgettable experience."

Nearly 70,000 spectators watched the ceremony, with over 2,000 volunteer performers joined by Lady Gaga, who has won as many Grammys as Sir Chris Hoy has won Olympic golds, performing John Lennon's classic Imagine.

And, as is mandatory, there were plenty of fireworks, countless drummers and high-tech theatrics, linked to local folklore and customs.

"It's been an awesome experience and the atmosphere was unbelievable," said Team GB beach volleyball player Chris Gregory.

British athletes were in action before the opening ceremony in water polo and synchronised swimming and British Olympic Association chairman Lord Coe believes all will benefit from the fortnight of sport ahead, which will see some secure their qualification standards for next summer's Olympics in Rio.

"For those competing in this environment for the first time, this is a stepping stone to a greater understanding about what it takes to compete at a games and at the highest level," he said.

"For those athletes with experience, get what you want out of the Games but just remember that you're part of the team leadership now as well.

"The BOA is an organisation I'm very proud to chair.  This is a world class operation and I know the athletes are incredibly grateful.  Our job is to remove everything that might inhibit an athlete, it is written in to our DNA and you can really see that in action here."

© Sportsbeat 2015