Scotland in the 2008 Beijing Olympics

I dearly love the Olympics, I should've put an olympic countdown clock up on this blog now that I think about it. So I thought it would be interesting to do a little digging into the history of Scotland's Olympic athletes and look at their prospects for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games.

The Summer Olympics started in 1896 but the first Scottish medals didn't come until 1900 when they won silver and bronze of course. (Golf is no longer an Olympic sport today by the way.) Their first gold came in a big way in 1908 when 5 Scots brought home the gold in steeplechase, 400m, coxless fours (a rowing event), water polo, and 12 metre class (sailing). And home wasn't far away as the 1908 Olympics were in London.

Since than, there's been a Scot who has medaled in just about every Olympics. The only one's they didn't medal in were 1932 and 1936. There were even some Scots on the 1920 tug of war team that brought home the gold...obviously no longer an Olympic sport, but it brought a smile to my face :)

There are many notable Scottish Olympic athletes. Track star Eric Liddell of Chariots of Fire fame of course. Shirley Robertson picked up 2 gold medals for sailing in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics, the only Scotswoman to have ever won 2 gold medals. And Rodney Pattison is the most decorated Scottish Olympian, winning 2 golds and 1 silver medal between 1968-1972.

Scotland has always competed as part of Great Britain's Olympic team. But it seems there was some effort by Scotland to bring their own seperate Olympic team to the 2008 summer games. They do have their own parliament after all but they are still not entirely independent from England. It seems that the issue was brought up because Scotland's Football (aka. soccer) Association didn't want to participate in a British soccer team for the Olympics.

Former British Olympic Association chairman Sir Craig Reedie had this to say about the whole situation, "The International Olympic Committee charter says that to take part in an Olympic Games you must have a national Olympic committee. You only get a national Olympic committee when it's granted to you by the IOC. When Scotland is an independent nation, I am 99.999% sure the IOC will grant them an NOC, but not before then. Until then, no Scottish athlete is disadvantaged by the current situation."

The official website for Great Britain's 2008 Summer Olympic team is a bit confusing. You can search their athlete's by country, but the results include both country of birth and country of residence. So while they list 25 athlete's as being from Scotland only 18 were actually born in Scotland. Two were born in other countries but basically grew up in Scotland. Mostly men (there are only 5 women) Scotland is represented in swimming, canoe, rowing, shooting, cycling, steeplechase, track, tennis, kayak, triatholon, and field hockey. Their dominant sport is swimming where they have 5 athlete's competing.

Scottish athlete's to watch for seem to be Chris Hoy, 9 time world champion in cycling and Lee McConnell who runs the 400m has also picked up a lot of press.

I'll mostly be cheering on Team USA but the beauty of the Olympics is the international stage and being able to cheer on international players so if I recognize a Scot I'll definitely give them a shout out.

Pipe on!

1 comment:

Adullamite said...

Chris Hoy did indeed do very well at the Games.

Scotland will NOT however take part in any GB football team. We all realise that this will be no more than a glorified England side and that will never be acceptable. There is also a temptation from some to force the UK to play just one side instead of the four as at present. You know our answer to that!

Glad to see you are still progressing here. One day you might hopefully make massed bands at the the Edinburgh Tattoo!

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