Vio Etko knows all about competing in Games – having won Scotland’s first wrestling medal since 1994 at last year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
On Saturday, he opened a different kind of competition but no less fiercely fought – the 85th Oldmeldrum Sports and Highland Games at the village’s Pleasure Park.
And the bronze medal winner, who lives in the village with his Scots wife Laura and their son Leon, received a gold star from everyone who attended.
Games secretary Gordon Forsyth said: “Vio was delighted to take part and said he was honoured to be asked; he’s very much a part of the community now.
“He had time for everyone and really stepped up to the mark for us; he bent over backwards to ensure that he spoke to all the visitors.”
In another first for the Games, which were originally staged in 1930, the new Pleasure Park Pavilion opened this year – giving the committee the chance to properly host their guests.
Gordon said: “The pavilion opened just in time for the Games. We got a significant grant from Aberdeenshire Council and did some fundraising ourselves too.
“It’s been in the pipeline for a couple of years; the foundations were laid last year and the building erected in the last four months.
“We’re delighted it was open for the Games.”
The pavilion, which features a large meeting room and kitchen facilities, will also be used by the community.
Qualifying heavy events, open heavy events, light events, Highland Dancing, European Tug-of-War, the Run-4-It Meldrum five miler and the one mile children’s race all attracted large entries.
And two records were also broken at the 85th Games – the long jump which set a new ground record of 22ft 9inches (beating the 1973 record of 22ft 1inch) and the triple jump at 49 ft 5.5 inches – an unofficial Scottish record.
The 4,000 people who went along were also entertained throughout the day with displays by the Guarana Street Drummers, the Ginger Juggler, children’s funfair rides and, of course, the Massed Pipe Bands.
A big hit in the marquee was the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Food Fayre which attracted bargain hunters througout the day and continued the Games’ tradition of always helping local charities.
“It was a fantastic day and was very well attended,” said Gordon. “We also had a great turnout in all the events.
“Given the week of weather we’d had, we really scored because it stayed dry all day and it was even warm for a wee while!
“The Guarana Street Drummers were, as ever, a big hit with the crowds.
“And the kids really loved the Ginger Juggler who was a new entertainer this year.
“But I have to say the highlight was Vio.
“The children were going round with him and loved having a Games medallist at the event!”
Of course, the Games do not just happen. The ten strong committee works hard every year to pull the event off.
Gordon added: “Thanks to every-one who attended, as well as the competitors and businesses who support and sponsor us every year.
“It was a great day.”
Freelance photographer Paul Douglas was on hand to capture the action and his pictures are featured in our slideshow, created for your viewing pleasure by Johnston Press communities hub deputy editor Julie Currie. Enjoy!!