Sport in Scotland

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Sport plays a central role in Scottish culture. The temperate, oceanic climate has played a key part in the evolution of Sport in Scotland, with all-weather sports like football, rugby union and golf dominating the national sporting consciousness. However, many other sports are played in the country, with popularity varying between sports and between regions.

Scotland has its own sporting competitions and governing bodies, such as the Scottish Football League and the Scottish Cyclists' Union. The country has independent representation at many international sporting events, for example the Football World Cup and the Cricket World Cup, as well as the Commonwealth Games; although notably not the Olympic Games.

Scots, and Scottish emigrants, has made several key contributions to the history of sport, with important innovations and developments in:


[edit] Popular sports

Some of the more popular sports are listed below.

[edit] Football

Main article: Football in Scotland
Image:England v Scotland (1872).jpg
The first football international, Scotland versus England, Hamilton Crescent, Glasgow, 1872. Once kept by the Rugby Football Union as an early example of rugby football.

Football is the national sport, both in terms of participation and numbers of spectators.

Scotland has played a significant role in the history of football, for example the Ba game was being played in the Middle Ages. Several burghs retain an annual Ba game, with the Kirkwall Ba Game in Orkney being perhaps the most famous. The world's first international football match was held in 1872 at the West of Scotland Cricket Club's Hamilton Crescent ground in the Partick area of Glasgow. The match was between Scotland and England and resulted in a 0–0 draw. The Scottish Cup is the world's oldest national trophy, first contested in 1873. Queen's Park F.C., in Glasgow, was one of the world's first football clubs.

The Scottish Football Association (SFA), the second-oldest national football association in the world, is the main governing body for Scottish football, and a founding member of the International Football Association Board (IFAB) which governs the Laws of the Game. As a result of this key role in the development of the sport Scotland is one of only four countries to have a permanent representative on the IFAB; the other four representatives being appointed for set periods by FIFA. The SFA also has responsibility for the Scotland national football team.

The national stadium is Hampden Park in Glasgow. Supporters of the national team are nicknamed the Tartan Army. As of October 2006 Scotland are ranked as the joint 25th best national football team in the FIFA World Rankings, having improved since Walter Smith took over as manager. The national team last attended the World Cup in France in 1998, but finished last in their group stage after defeats to runners-up Brazil (whom they led one-nil at one stage) and Morocco. They won a single point after a one-all draw with Norway.

Elite club football in Scotland is split between the Scottish Premier League and the Scottish Football League.

Scotland's football clubs have had a relatively high degree of success internationally. In terms of European competitions, Rangers, Celtic and Aberdeen have all won European competitions, however Celtic are the only team to have won the European Cup (now the Champions League), Europe's premier competition. Celtic won this cup in 1967 becoming the first British team (and the first from northern Europe) to do so. Their victory is an important one in football history with the competition being won with a team comprising no players born more than thirty miles (48 km) from the home of the club, Celtic Park.

The most successful teams over the years have been the Old Firm: Rangers and Celtic. Glasgow is therefore home to some of Europe's best football stadia. With Celtic Park (60,832 seats), Ibrox Park (50,411 seats) and Hampden Park (52,670 seats), Glasgow is one of the few European cities to have three football stadia each with at least 50,000 seat capacity. Ibrox and Hampden are both UEFA 5-star rated football stadia: only Germany, Portugal and Spain have more top-rated stadia.

[edit] Rugby union

Rugby union is administered by the Scottish Rugby Union. Murrayfield Stadium, in Edinburgh, is the home of the Scotland national rugby union team.

The world's oldest continual rugby fixture was first played in 1858 between Merchiston Castle School and the former pupils of The Edinburgh Academy. The Edinburgh Academy was also involved in the first ever international rugby union game when a side representing England met the Scottish national side on the cricket field of the Academy at Raeburn Place, Edinburgh on March 27, 1871, which Scotland won. The national side today competes in the annual Six Nations Championship and has appeared at every Rugby World Cup. Professional clubs compete in the Celtic League and the European Cup and a national league for amateur and semi-pro clubs also thrives.

[edit] Athletics

Image:Eric Liddell.jpg
Eric Liddell, Scottish sprinter, rugby internationalist, and Christian missionary to China. He won the Men's 400 metres at the Summer Olympic Games of 1924. His story was portrayed in the film Chariots of Fire.
scottishathletics is the governing body for athletics in Scotland. It replaced the Scottish Athletics Federation in April 2001.

[edit] Badminton

BADMINTONscotland is the national governing body for the sport of badminton in Scotland.

[edit] Basketball

basketballscotland is the governing body of basketball in Scotland.

[edit] Boxing

[edit] Climbing and mountaineering

[edit] Cricket

Main article: Cricket in Scotland

[edit] Cycling

Cycling is a popular amateur sport, with 99 clubs throughout the country, from the Shetland Wheelers to the Stewartry Wheelers. At the elite level, Scots have been more successful at track cycling rather than road racing, although Scotland has a long history of time-trialing on the road. The lack of road races within the country, with not a single UCI-ranked event, is largely to do with the refusal of Scottish local authorities to close public roads to allow road races to take place safely. Scotland has one velodrome, at Meadowbank Stadium, in Edinburgh. The governing body is the Scottish Cyclists' Union.

In recent years mountain biking has become very popular, with Scottish geography being ideal for training and racing. The Fort William World Cup event has become the highlight of the series.

Scotland has produced several world-class cyclists. Probably the most renowned champion outwith Scotland is the great Robert Millar, a King of the Mountains, and fourth-place overall, at the 1984 Tour de France; and very nearly a winner of the 1985 Vuelta a España (where the strange manner of his defeat to Pedro Delgado is still a matter of some controversy). He came second in the 1987 Giro d'Italia and second twice in the Vuelta: 1985 and 1986. Indeed Millar is widely considered to be the best cyclist to have ever come out of the UK (although many would also argue the merits of the Englishman Tom Simpson).

Graeme Obree, David Millar (no relation), and Chris Hoy have also reached the very peak of their respective events.

[edit] Disability sports

[edit] Golf

Main article: Golf in Scotland

Scotland is the "Home of Golf", and is well-known for its many links courses, including the Old Course at St Andrews, Carnoustie, Muirfield and Royal Troon.

[edit] Highland games

The Highland Games are a distinctive feature of the national sporting culture.

[edit] Equestrian sports

[edit] Field hockey

[edit] Horse racing

[edit] Judo

Scots have been very prominent on the podium at the Judo events at the Commonwealth Games. Judo is absent from the programme of events at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, but is likely to return at future Games.

[edit] Lawn bowls

[edit] Motorsport

Scotland has been successful in all forms of motor racing especially since it's growth in popularity since World War II. Several Scottish drivers have had illustrious careers at the top level and success has come in many different championships including Formula One, The World Rally Championship, Le Mans 24 hours, CART, and the British Touring Car Championship.

[edit] Formula One

Image:Stewart gp barrichello 1998.jpg
Rubens Barrichello driving for the Stewart Grand Prix team in Montreal in 1997. The tartan livery of the team was a special Stewart F1 tartan designed for the team and its addition to the cars indicates the Stewarts' origins in Scotland.

Scotland has had several Formula One drivers over the years since the championship commenced in 1950. A full list of these drivers can be found at Category:Scottish Formula One drivers. Of these drivers the best known are Jim Clark, who won 2 World Championships before his untimely death, Jackie Stewart who managed to gain 3 World Championships and David Coulthard who still races in the championship for the Red Bull Racing team. Coulthard has been Scotland's most successful driver in recent memory having runner up in the World Drivers Championships a number of times and is the front running British Driver in the all-time lists. No round of F1 has however been held in Scotland making the country one of the most successful countries without hosting a race.

[edit] Rallying

The McRae family are Scotland's best known rally drivers, in particular Colin McRae who won the WRC in 1995. He also managed to affirm his popularity by adding his name to a series of successful rally games.

Louise Aitken-Walker made significant inroads into the male-dominated sport.

Scotland also hosts a number of minor rally events and has hosted the British round of the WRC however this now takes place almost exclusively in Wales.

[edit] Le Mans

Allan McNish has competed in both F1 in 2002 for Toyota and in German Touring cars Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM), but is best known for his 24 Hours of Le Mans victories with the Audi team.

Peter Dumbreck has also competed in the 1999 24 Hours of Le Mans, and is better known for his infamous accident in the 1999 event where his Mercedes-Benz CLR car suffered aerodynamic problems and took off, somersaulting through the air.

[edit] BTCC

In British Touring Car Championship Scotland has had a had a double champion in John Cleland. A number of drivers have raced successfully in recent years including Antony Reid and David Leslie. One round of the championship is annually held in Scotland.

[edit] American Race Series

Some Scottish drivers have had success in the American series of mainly oval racing. Currently Dario Franchitti from Bathgate, competes in the Indycar competition having previously raced very successfully in CART. Allan McNish currently competes in the American Le Mans ALMS series where he made history by driving the first diesel powered race-car in the series to victory.

[edit] Motorcycling

[edit] Scottish circuits

Which there are a number of smaller circuits for private use in Scotland and a number of rally stages, the only circuit to host top level circuit motor racing in Scotland is Knockhill in Fife.

[edit] Rugby league

[edit] Sailing

[edit] Shinty

Main article: Shinty

Shinty is the traditional game of the Scottish Highlands and is still played widely across the area today, with clubs also based in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Fife and Perth, and in most universities. Its governing body is the Camanachd Association (in Scottish Gaelic, Comunn na Camanachd) who are based in Fort William.

The sport's premier prize is the Scottish Cup, more popularly known as the Camanachd Cup. Shinty also has the honour of having provided, according to the Guinness Book of Records, the world's most successful sporting team, Kingussie Camanachd.

Shinty was formerly played through the Winter but has recently become a primarily Summer game. It has common roots with the Irish sport of Hurling.

[edit] Snooker

Scotland has produced many great snooker players over the years. Many of which have gone on to win the World Championship.

Walter Donaldson was the first Scotsman to be crowned World Champion, winning in 1947 and again in 1950.

In the modern snooker era the most successful, and it could be said one of the most famous, Scottish snooker player is Stephen Hendry. He has won the World Snooker Championship 7 times, winning it 5 years in a row from 1992 onwards and holds the record as being the youngest ever winner, beating Englishman Jimmy White 18 frames to 12 in 1990, aged just 21.

Scotsman John Higgins or as he is more affectionatly know "The Wizard of Wishaw" won the World Snooker Championship beating Irishman Ken Doherty in 1998.

Since 1990 a Scottish player has featured in almost every World Snooker Championship Final. 1991, 2000, 2003 and 2005 being the only years since 1990 when a Scottish player hasn't made it to the final.

At the time of writing this article {2006) the current World Snooker Champion is Scotsman Graeme Dott. In an epic match which holds the record as the longest ever recorded best of 32 frames, he won 18 frames to 14 against Englishman Peter Ebdon.

A full list of every Scottish snooker player, with many names not mentioned here, can be found under Category:Scottish snooker players.

[edit] Shooting

[edit] Squash

[edit] Swimming

The governing body is the Scottish Amateur Swimming Association.

[edit] Tennis and Royal tennis

Tennis has a very long history in Scotland, with real tennis being played at Falkland Palace, Fife.

Andy Murray is currently doing very well in the world rankings.

The Aberdeen Cup, established in 2005, is an annual competition between the Scotland and England tennis teams.

[edit] Winter Sports

[edit] Curling

Main article: Curling in Scotland

Scotland is the home of curling (2002 Olympic champions, women) which, although not as popular today as in Canada, remains more popular in Scotland than anywhere else in Europe. Scotland are the current (2006) men's World curling champions, and have won World championship gold on 3 previous occasions.

[edit] Alpine skiing

[edit] Ice hockey

[edit] Other sports

[edit] Multi-sport events

[edit] Olympic Games

Scottish athletes have competed at every Olympic Games, since the inaugural modern Games, as part of the Great Britain and Ireland team (prior to Irish independence) and then the Great Britain and Northern Ireland team. A Scot, Launceston Elliot, won Great Britain and Ireland's very first Olympic gold medal, in 1896 in Athens.

Scotland have only ever won one Olympic medal as Scotland, when the men's field hockey team won a bronze medal at the 1908 Summer Games. This was also the only occasion when either England (gold) or Wales (bronze) have won a medal in their own right; and was Ireland's only medal (silver) prior to independence. The curling gold medal in Chamonix in 1924 was won by the Royal Caledonian Curling Club team, the Scottish national team, and the women's curling gold in Salt Lake City in 2002 was won by the top Scottish team at the time, skipped by Rhona Martin.

[edit] Scottish summer Olympic medallists

[edit] 1896 Athens
[edit] 1900 Paris
[edit] 1904 Athens
[edit] 1908 London
[edit] 1912 Stockholm
[edit] 1920 Antwerp
[edit] 1924 Paris
[edit] 1928 Amsterdam
  • Ellen King, Silver, 100 m backstroke swimming
  • Ellen King, Silver, 100 m freestyle relay swimming
  • Sarah Stewart, Silver, 100 m freestyle relay swimming
[edit] 1948 London
[edit] 1952 Helsinki
[edit] 1956 Melbourne
[edit] 1960 Rome
[edit] 1964 Tokyo
[edit] 1968 Mexico
[edit] 1972 Munich
[edit] 1976 Montreal
[edit] 1980 Moscow
[edit] 1984 Los Angeles
[edit] 1988 Seoul
[edit] 1992 Barcelona
[edit] 1996 Atlanta
[edit] 2000 Sydney
[edit] 2004 Athens

[edit] Scottish winter Olympic medallists

[edit] 1924 Chamonix
[edit] 2002 Salt Lake City

[edit] Commonwealth Games

[edit] University sport

[edit] Sports media

Further information: Scottish media

Scotland has a distinct set of media products, especially when it comes to sports coverage. The main Scottish daily newspapers, the Daily Record, The Herald and The Scotsman, have extensive coverage of Scottish and international sport; and decent coverage of Scottish sport is one of the key tools used by Scottish editions of English newspapers, most successfully employed by The Scottish Sun.

There is also a variety of magazine titles. Titles include The Celtic View, Rangers News, Bunkered, Scottish Club Golfer and Rally Action.

The main sports television shows on the largest two channels are Scotsport on stv and ITV1 Border Scotland (which is recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as the world's longest running sports television programme) and Sportscene on BBC Scotland. BBC Radio Scotland's main sports show is Sportsound, and it has other sports output, for example the comedy show Off the Ball. All the main independent radio stations report on local sport, and often cover football matches live.

[edit] References

[edit] See also

[edit] External link

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