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 association 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 Camanachd Association,the Scottish Rugby Union, Scottish Rugby League. The country has independent representation at many international sporting events, for example the, Rugby League World Cup and the, as well as the Commonwealth Games; although not the Olympic Games.
Scots, and Scottish emigrants, have made several key contributions to the history of sport, with important innovations and developments in: golf, curling, football, rugby union (the invention of rugby sevens, first international, and first league system), Highland games (which have contributed to the evolution of modern athletics events), shinty (the predecessor of both ice hockey and bandy), cycling (Kirkpatrick Macmillan invented the pedal bicycle), basketball, and water polo (first set of rules, games and internationals).
Highland games, the largest and most widespread multi-sport festivals of the 19th century, are claimed to have influenced Baron Pierre de Coubertin and Dr William Milligan Sloane (a scholar of French History and close friend of Baron de Courbertin) of Princeton when he was planning the revival of the Olympic Games. De Coubertin and Milligan, who was researching his book on Napoleon at the time, saw a display of Highland games at the Paris Exhibition of 1889.
- 1 Football codes
- 2 Stick and bat games
- 3 Basket codes
- 4 Cue sports
- 5 Racquet sports
- 6 Martial arts
- 7 Track and field events
- 8 Angling
- 9 Bowls
- 10 Boxing
- 11 Canoeing
- 12 Climbing and mountaineering
- 13 Cycling
- 14 Curling
- 15 Darts
- 16 Gaelic Athletic Association
- 17 Handball
- 18 Horseracing
- 19 Orienteering
- 20 Petanque
- 21 Rowing
- 22 Sailing
- 23 Skiing
- 24 Speedway
- 25 Swimming
- 26 Sub aqua
- 27 Surfing
- 28 Fives
- 29 Water polo
- 30 Blood sports
- 31 Multisport events
- 32 Motorsport
- 33 Sports media
- 34 See also
- 35 References
- 36 External links
Ever since the 19th century, the two main football codes in Scotland are association football (which is more commonly referred to as just "football" or "fitba") and rugby union, though the former being significantly dominant since World War II. Some others are also played. For Gaelic Football, please see under Gaelic Athletic Association, further down.
There is a long tradition of football games stretching back centuries. While these games were referred to as "football" (and numerous variants), many of them were very different from modern football, and involved carrying the ball. One of these games was outlawed in 1424. The history of football in Scotland includes various traditional ball games, for example the Ba game; some of these early games probably involved the kicking of a ball. Uncertainty about the specific nature of these games is because prior to 1863, the term "football" implied almost any ball game that was played on ones feet and not played on horseback. Some of these local games were probably played as far back as the Middle Ages, although the earliest contemporary accounts (as opposed to decrees simply banning "football") come in the eighteenth century. Many of these accounts refer to the violence of traditional Scottish football and as a result many games were abolished or modified. Several burghs retain an annual Ba game, with the Kirkwall Ba Game in Orkney being probably the most famous form of traditional football in Scotland. Elsewhere in Scotland, the greatest evidence for a tradition of football games comes from southern Scotland, in particular the Scottish Borders.
The world's first official international association football match was held in 1872 and was the idea of C. W. Alcock of the Football Association which was seeking to promote Association Football in Scotland. The match took place 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. Following this, the newly developed football became the most popular sport in Scotland. The Scottish Cup is the world's oldest national trophy, first contested in 1873 (although the FA Cup is an older competition, its original trophy is no longer in existence). Queen's Park F.C., in Glasgow, is probably the oldest association football club in the world outside England.
The Scottish Football Association (SFA), the second-oldest national football association in the world, is the main governing body for Scottish association 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.
national stadium is Hampden Park in Glasgow. Supporters of the national team are nicknamed the Tartan Army, or the "Sporran Legion". As of September 2009, Scotland are ranked as the 30th best national football team in the FIFA World Rankings. They have improved steadily after Walter Smith took over as manager, beating 2006 World Cup finalists France in a European Championship qualifier. 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 and Morocco. They won a single point after a one-all draw with Norway.
Scotland's association 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. Rangers, were the first British team to reach a European Final, the 1961 European Cup Winners Cup. However, Celtic are the only team to have won the European Cup (now known as the UEFA Champions League), Europe's premier competition. Celtic won this cup in 1967 becoming the first British team 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. With Rangers having won more major trophies than any other team in professional football. Glasgow is therefore home to three major football stadia. With Celtic Park (60,355 seats), Ibrox Stadium (50,947 seats) and Hampden Park (52,025 seats).
Rugby union in Scotland is administered by the Scottish Rugby Union. Murrayfield Stadium, in Edinburgh, is the home of the Scotland national rugby union team. Scotland are ranked 9th, in the IRB world rankings. They annually take part in the Six Nations and participate in the Rugby World Cup, which takes place every four years. Scottish players are also eligible for selection for the British and Irish Lions, a composite team that tours the Southern hemisphere every 4 years.
The roots of Scottish rugby go back a long way. Many ball games played in Scotland, and referred to as "football" were frequently as similar to rugby as they were to soccer.
The Scottish Football Union (SFU) was founded in 1873 and was a founding member of the International Rugby Board in 1886 with Ireland and Wales. (England refused to join until 1890). In 1924 the SFU changed its name to become the Scottish Rugby Union.
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 27 March 1871, which Scotland won. The national side today competes in the annual Six Nations Championship and has appeared at every Rugby World Cup. Scotland have two professional sides that compete in the Magners League and the Heineken Cup - Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow Warriors. Until 2007 there was a third side, Border Reivers, but the side were disbanded due to funding problems in the SRU. The Scottish League Championship exists for amateur and semi-pro clubs. Even the top professional sides struggle to attract crowds comparable to that of English or Welsh clubs but the national side regularly fill Murrayfield for Six Nations fixtures.
Rugby union is most popular in the Borders region, where it is played widely, and this is probably the only area of Scotland where rugby is the most popular sport, although it has a strong presence in Aberdeen, Cupar, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling, Ayrshire and Perthshire.
Rugby sevens is a variant of rugby union, which was initially conceived by Ned Haig, a butcher from Melrose, Scotland as a fundraising event for his local club, Melrose RFC, in 1883. The first ever sevens match was played at the Greenyards, where it was well received. The first ever officially sanctioned international tournament occurred at Murrayfield as part of the "Scottish Rugby Union's celebration of rugby" centenary celebrations in 1973. Due to the success of the format, the ongoing Hong Kong Sevens was launched three years later, and numerous other international competitions followed. In 1993, the Rugby World Cup Sevens, in which the Melrose Cup is contested, was launched, which is named after its town of origin. In the meantime, the Melrose Sevens continue to be popular  and there is a healthy Borders Sevens Circuit. Starting in 2007, the annual IRB Sevens World Series, featuring international sides from around the world, has ended with the Edinburgh Sevens at Murrayfield.
Article for National Rugby League team: Scotland national rugby league team
Rugby League is administered by Scotland Rugby League. The main international team has been playing since 1909 although their first proper international wasn't until 1996 when they beat Ireland in Dublin 6-26. In the 2000 Rugby League World Cup, Scotland finished last in their group, although only narrowly lost to Ireland, Samoa and New Zealand. The latter two matches were played in Edinburgh and Glasgow respectively.
A major boost to rugby league in Scotland came when the Rugby League Challenge Cup Final was brought to Murrayfield, Edinburgh. On both occasions over 60,000 watched the final. This was coupled with a fantastic 42–20 win over France in July 2001, possibly one of Scotland's best wins in their short history.
The domestic game in Scotland drastically changed in 2003 when a new league was formed incorporating six teams into the Rugby League Conference umbrella. There are now several teams, Easterhouse Panthers, Jordanhill Phoenix and Paisley Hurricanes from Glasgow, Edinburgh Eagles from Edinburgh, Moray Eels from Lossiemouth, Fife Lions from Dunfermline and Carluke Tigers from Carluke. Fife Lions and Edinburgh Eagles have been the most successful teams, both having won the league recently. There are plans to expand the league and possibly have another team in Glasgow, as well as one from the Borders.
In 2007 Scotland qualified for the 2008 Rugby League World Cup after beating Wales 21–14 at Bridgend, before losing 18–16 in Glasgow. The points advantage allowed them through and they will play in Group B against France and Fiji in Australia in November 2008.
Scotland also have another team, labelled 'The Bravehearts'. This is a team made up of players entirely from the eight Scottish Conference teams.
Scotland has qualified for its second straight World Cup by making the finals of the 2013 Rugby League World Cup in England/Wales/France/Ireland. Recently excellent halfback Danny Brough has indicated his loyalty to the Scottish national team (over England) which is a massive boost for the national side ahead of the tournament.
American Football has been played in Scotland since the 1980s.
It is played on an amateur basis throughout Scotland in the same way as the rest of the United Kingdom. There are 14 under 18 teams ranging from Inverness Blitz in the North, Inverclyde Hawks in the West through to Edinburgh in the East.
7 teams currently play in the BAFA Community Leagues with Glasgow Tigers, Clyde Valley Blackhawks, Dundee Hurricanes, Highland Wildcats, Edinburgh Wolves and West Coast Trojans playing in Division 2, and the East Kilbride Pirates playing in Division 1.
A professional team (the Scottish Claymores) played in NFL Europe between 1995 and 2004 based in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Lawrence Tynes, Joe Andruzzi and Dante Hall all played for the team and went on to have success in the NFL.
Australian Rules Football
Aussie Rules has never had a high profile in Scotland.
There are currently three teams in SARFL, most established in the early 2000s. It has seen growth around the major cities and now has a national team.
Futsal, indoor football and five-a-side
Five-a-side (not to be confused with fives) is popular in Scotland, with many casual leagues.
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Stick and bat games
For hurling and camogie, please see under Gaelic Athletic Association.
Cricket has a much lower profile in Scotland than it has south of the border in England. Scotland is not one of the ten leading cricketing nations which play Test matches, but the Scottish national team is now allowed to play full One Day Internationals, and takes part in the Cricket World Cup, in which Scotland reached the final tournament in 2007. Scotland has a well established recreational cricket structure. Scotland has co-hosted the 1999 Cricket World Cup along with England, Ireland and Netherlands.
The governing body for Scottish cricket is Cricket Scotland, which administers women's cricket and junior cricket as well as the men's game.
Cricket has an image as an "English" sport in Scotland, with many top players competing for the England national side, such as Jon Croft, and indeed, the national side competes in the English counties system.
It is widely played in Scottish private schools, and has some presence in the major cities.
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. The first record of golf being played was at Leith Links in 1457.
Scotland is at the forefront of international golf, with some of the world's premier courses being located there. The most famous courses, such as St Andrews tend to be on the east coast's dunelands, which are known in Lowland Scots as "links" - this word has passed over into golf terminology as meaning a course. There are also major courses at Gleneagles, Ayrshire, East Lothian and Loch Lomond
While there is considerable disagreement as to where in Scotland golf was invented – St Andrews, Leith or Bruntsfield – or even if it was invented within Scotland - both Holland and China have staked claims - the modern game was codified in Scotland. Much of golf terminology has its roots in Lowland Scots, e.g. caddy, links, tee etc.
Shinty or camanachd is the traditional game of the Scottish Highlands, although historically it has a wider range. It 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 Inverness.
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.
Baseball has existed in Edinburgh since the 1930s when it was played at US air bases at Kirknewton and East Fortune. In 2007 the Scottish National League was formed after previously being associated with British Baseball Federation. The league consisted of the Edinburgh Diamond Devils, Edinburgh Eagles, Strathclyde Falcons and the Glasgow Baseball Association. In 2011 the league was still going strong with the Edinburgh Diamond Devils, Edinburgh Cannons, Edinburgh Giants, and the Glasgow Baseball Association. There have been 8 Scottish baseball players to play in the Major leagues. Baseball is a minority sport in Scotland and is only played at an amateur level.
The Scottish Croquet Association, formed in 1974, has responsibility for croquet in Scotland.
Notable Scottish croquet players include Compton Mackenzie.
Field hockey is mainly played in the Lowlands, where it displaced shinty. It is played in various private schools.
Scotland has a very long successful history of ice hockey. Scotland are host to the oldest ice hockey team in Britain which are the Fife Flyers. At the moment there are four Scottish teams competing in the UK-wide Elite Ice Hockey League. Edinburgh Capitals have been in the Elite Ice Hockey League since it was formed and in 2010 they were joined by the Dundee Stars and the newly formed Braehead Clan and in 2011 the Fife Flyers were admitted as both their previous league and the Newcastle Vipers went bust creating an opening. Scotland has produced 3 of the top British Players of all time in Colin Shields, Tony Hand and Stephen Murphy.
Lacrosse has a minor presence, tending to be played by girls at private schools, although there have been some male university teams as well.
Field lacrosse is the main sport, but box lacrosse is also played. It is always at amateur level. However, lacrosse in Scotland goes back to 1890 at St Leonards School, Fife, where women's lacrosse had been introduced by Louisa Lumsden. Lumsden brought the game to Scotland after watching a men's lacrosse game between the Canghuwaya Indians and the Montreal Lacrosse Club. One of Lumsden's students, Rosabelle Sinclair, established the first women's lacrosse team in the United States was at the Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore, Maryland.
Rock-It-Ball has a minor presence, tending to be played in the Central Belt but is spreading throughout Scotland. The Scottish team won the World Cup in 2007 and more recently in 2011.
Scotland is also leading the way in the individual version of the sport known as V2. The current World Champion is Scott MacMichael who plays his Rock-It-Ball with the Falkirk Cannons. He also is the only player to have won medals in the 2007 and 2011 team World Cup Victories. At Youth level Scotland has the top female player in World V2 in Meghan Plummer, who also plays her Rock-It-Ball with the Falkirk Cannons.
It is a relatively new sport, having been created in the 21st century.
Basketball itself was originally invented by James Naismith, a Canadian of recent Scottish family origins, when he was in the USA.
basketballscotland is the governing body of basketball in Scotland.
Until the late 50s, Scotland was one of Europe's main teams as it twice qualified for the EuroBasket. Since then, the team declined. Scotland had some success at the FIBA European Championship for Small Countries where it won five bronze medals until today. In the last years, Scotland's best players joined forces with the UK national basketball team to compete better against international elite teams.
Netball is played mostly by girls from the age of ten to fifteen, and is popular in private schools.
Cue sports are very popular in Scotland.
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Pool tables are commonly to be found in Scottish pubs and social clubs.
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 Scottish snooker player is Stephen Hendry. He has won the World Snooker Championship a record 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 years.
Since the emergence of Stephen Hendry in 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 and Scots have won 10 of the 17 championships contested in this time. Scottish winners besides Hendry include John Higgins and Graeme Dott. Stephen Maguire is also an emerging talent in sport with a number of event wins on the tour.
Scotland also sent a team to the Snooker World Cup
BADMINTONscotland is the national governing body for the sport of badminton in Scotland.
Squash is played in most major urban centres.
A notable player of squash, is Peter Nicol. After initially representing Scotland in international squash, Nicol switched his representation to England in 2001, claiming that he felt he was not receiving sufficient support from Scottish Squash, the national governing body.
Scotland competes as Great Britain in tennis, however its contribution to the pool of British players traditionally has been very poor in the modern era with almost all notable players being English. However, this has taken an about turn in recent years with emergence of Andy Murray, and doubles players Colin Fleming and Jamie Murray. Andy Murray is by some distance the best player currently representing Britain as the UK number 1 and is also the world number 2. On 7 July 2013 he became the first British player to win the men's singles at Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936, 77 years before. Brother Jamie and won the Wimbledon mixed doubles title along with Serbian Jelena Janković in 2007, the first time any British player had won a major title at Wimbledon in 20 years. Colin Fleming along with his English partner Ross Hutchins is currently ranked 9th in the ATP Doubles Team Rankings. There are no official ATP tournaments in Scotland however, with all major events in Britain being contested in England.
While this is an extremely minor game in Scotland there is an outstanding example of a Royal Tennis court at Falkland Palace. It is traditionally known as "caitch" or "cache" in Scotland, and is an ancestor of the better known form of tennis.
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A wide range of martial arts are practiced in Scotland, but are usually administered at UK level.
Scotland has produced Olympic fencers, many Commonwealth medallists and some very successful Paralympian and Commonwealth wheelchair fencers. There are nearly 50 Olympic-rules fencing clubs active, with 37 of them currently affiliated to Scottish Fencing, the Home Country Governing Body. The most commonly-used weapon in Scottish fencing is the foil. Many of these clubs are classically-focussed.
Scotland is at the forefront of the growth and development of the historic fencing movement with 16 historic fencing classes active, and many affiliated to the British Federation for Historical Swordplay. Many of these clubs are also classically-focussed.
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Scots have been very prominent on the podium at the Judo events at the Commonwealth Games.
Karate groups run in Scotland.
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The main body for Karate in Scotland is the Scottish Karate Board Ltd
Track and field events
See also under Olympics and Commonwealth Games.
scottishathletics is the governing body for athletics in Scotland. It replaced the Scottish Athletics Federation in April 2001.
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Boxing is less popular in Scotland than it used to be.
Notable Scottish boxers include world champions Benny Lynch, Walter McGowan and Ken Buchanan; Lord David Douglas-Hamilton (who went on to become a Conservative politician); and Mark McManus (who would later play Taggart)
A number of Scottish rivers are popular with canoeists, including the River Spey.
Climbing and mountaineering
Climbing is popular in some parts of Scotland. Notable climbers include Harold Raeburn.
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 two velodromes, one at Meadowbank Stadium, in Edinburgh and another at Caird Park in Dundee. Another is under construction in Glasgow for 2014 Commonwealth Games. The governing body is the Scottish Cyclists' Union.
Scotland has produced several world-class cyclists. Probably the most renowned champion out of 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).
In the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Chris Hoy became the most successful British Olympian in over 100 years when he cycled to 3 golds in the velodrome in sprint events (Sprint, team sprint and keirin). His achievements earned him the honor of carrying the nation's flag in the closing ceremony and a knighthood in 2008.
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. The Scottish men's team are the worlds second most successful curling nation having won a total of 32 World Championship medals including 5 golds, with the most recent coming in 2009.
Gaelic Athletic Association
The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) has had a long history in Scotland, thanks to Scotland's substantial Irish population. The base of the GAA in Scotland is at Cambuslang, and GAA sports tend to be most popular in Greater Glasgow, although there is also a presence in various Scottish universities.
The "Gaelic" part of the name refers to Ireland, rather than Scotland.
Hurling is a close relative of the indigenous Scottish sport of shinty, and there is an annual international between Scotland's shinty players and Ireland's hurlers, using composite rules. The traditional forms of hurling played in Antrim and Donegal, where many of Scotland's Irish immigrants originate from, were closest to Scottish shinty, and were at one point almost indistinguishable.
Camogie is also played to a low level.
Scotland has several professional racecourses, but the sport received a massive blow in the 1990s when Lanark shut down.
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The French sport of Petanque is administered and promoted in Scotland by the Scottish Petanque Association There are 11 affiliated clubs in Scotland and many other groups which play on a casual basis.
Rowing is popular in Scottish Universities.
There are various events including the West Highland Yachting Week.
The Scottish Highlands are one of the few parts of the United Kingdom to have a number of ski resorts.
Aviemore is a centre for the sport in the Cairngorms. There are also other resorts such as Aonach Mòr, and slopes at Glencoe Ski area and Glenshee Ski Centre. The Midlothian Snowsports Centre near Edinburgh, known locally as "Hillend", is the largest dry ski slope in Europe.
Scotland currently has two Motorcycle Speedway teams racing in the UK Premier League, Glasgow Tigers and Edinburgh Monarchs.
The governing body is the Scottish Amateur Swimming Association. Most major urban centres and medium-sized towns have a swimming pool. Sea swimming does take place, but the low water temperature around Scotland tends to mean it is not particularly popular anymore.
Fives is a minor sport, with courts scattered across the country, and a limited presence in a handful of private schools.
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Water polo is considered to be invented in Scotland with the original rules being written by William Wilson for the Bon Accord Club in Aberdeen in 1877. It was based on a game played in the rivers Dee and Don in Aberdeen. The first game in a pool took place in Glasgow and the Scottish rules were those most adopted during the early years of the sport. Additionally, Scotland provided a number of Olympians to the GB squads that were successful in the early Olympics.
Scotland had a proud tradition of amateur water polo with many strong clubs across the country. However, it took a downturn after the early 1990s at which point it was successfully competing in home countries and 8 nations tournaments. As the rest of the world moved to deep water facilities, increased their training regime and professionalized their coaching structures, Scotland's water polo remained static and fell far behind. The national squad stopped competing in internationals in 2003 with the exception of the women's squad competing at the Commonwealth tournament in Perth in 2006. However, the sport has turned around since 2008 with fast growth of members, clubs and competitions. The national squads are once again competing internationally in the annual Celtic Nations tournament with recent wins in Women's 2010 & 2012 and Men's 2011. Scotland is expected to host the Commonwealth tournament in Aberdeen in April 2014.
All forms of animal fighting e.g. cock fighting, dog fighting, badger baiting etc. are banned, and have been for a long time. Fox hunting and hare coursing have been banned much more recently, and the former has never had a major presence in Scotland.
Aside from the Highland Games, a few localities have preserved traditional sports from before the standardisation of games. These include the ba games of Jedburgh and Kirkwall, and various forms of folk shinty, known as knottie or hummie, which use improvised materials.
The Highland Games are a distinctive feature of the national sporting culture. There are numerous annual games hosted in the Highlands including Braemar and Dunoon. They are also popular in various parts of the world, where large numbers of Scottish emigrants have settled.
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. Some of the most notable Scots athletes are Eric Liddell, (whose story is featured in the film Chariots of Fire), Alan Wells, the Olympic 100m winner in 1980, and Chris Hoy, winner of six cycling gold medals in 2004, 2008 and 2012.
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. There is a long-running Campaign for a Scottish Olympic Team
In 2009, two sports of Scottish origin, golf and rugby sevens were accepted into the Olympics. Curling has been an event at the Winter Olympics for many years.
For a list of Scottish Olympic medal winners, see Scottish Olympic medallists.
Scotland has an unrivalled track record of success in the world of motor sport, being one of only five countries in the world to have produced World Champions on two, three and four wheels.
Several Scottish competitors 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, IndyCar Series, the British Touring Car Championship, Grand Prix motorcycle racing, the British Superbike Championship and the Sidecar World Championship.
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. Scotland's early successes in Formula One began with Innes Ireland, the Dumfries man winning Lotus’ first Grand Prix, at Watkins Glen in 1961. However, perhaps the best known Scottish drivers 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 raced from 1994-2008 with McLaren F1, Williams F1 and Red Bull F1. Coulthard has been Scotland's most successful driver in recent memory finishing runner up in the World Drivers Championships in 2001. Other recent successes include Bathgates' Paul Di Resta who drove for Force India between 2010 - 2013 and Obans' Susie Wolff who in 2014 became the first woman to take part in a Formula One race weekend in 22 years, at the British Grand Prix, at Silverstone. No round of F1 has however been held in Scotland making the country one of the most successful countries without hosting a race.
Indy Car refers to the top-level American single-seater racing championship and it just so happens that Scotland is home to one of the most successful drivers in the history of US single-seater racing - Dario Franchitti. Dario won the IndyCar Series championship four times and claimed the prestigious Indy 500 three times.
On 6 October 2013, he was involved in a serious crash at the Grand Prix of Houston, when his car flew into catch-fencing after contact with another car. Franchitti suffered two fractured vertebrae, a broken ankle and a concussion in the accident. A month later, on 14 November 2013, Franchitti announced his immediate retirement from motor racing on medical advice. He retired with 31 victories from 265 starts in American open-wheel racing, a tally which put him in a tie for ninth place on the all-time wins list.
Away from the track, Scotland has always enjoyed a distinguished pedigree in stage rallying.
The McRae name is perhaps one of Scotland’s most famous exports, with Colin McRae winning the World Rally Championship in 1995. His ‘flat-out’ driving style earned him millions of fans around the world and he enjoyed cult status during his 15 year career at the top of the sport. Colin was the son of 5-time British Rally Champion, Jimmy McRae, and brother of Alister McRae who also enjoyed success in the world of international rallying.
Scotland's most recent world crown was won in 2001, when Perthshire born co-driver Robert Reid won the World Rally Championship with Richard Burns.
Louise Aitken-Walker also made significant inroads into the male-dominated sport and is Britain’s most successful female rally driver of all time, Claiming the ladies world rally championship in 1990.
One of the most enduring stories from the world of Scottish motorsport is that of the legendary Ecurie Ecosse racing team. From a humble back-street mews garage in Merchiston, Edinburgh the team stunned the motor racing world by beating household names such as Porsche and Ferrari. In 1956, David Murray’s team won the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans race with a privately entered D-type Jaguar, driven by proud Scotsmen Ron Flockhart and Ninian Sanderson.
In more recent years, Scotland has continued to enjoy success in the world of endurance and sports car racing. Dumfrieshires Allan McNish competed in F1 in 2002 for Toyota, but is best known for becoming one of the all-time greats in the grueling world of sportscar racing, winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans three times and finishing on the podium on no fewer than six further occasions. In 2013, he also won the FIA World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC). 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. In 2012, Bathgate's Marino Franchitti was confirmed as the first driver of Nissan’s innovative Delta Wing as an unclassified entrant at Le Mans and in 2014 he won the prestigious 12 Hours of Sebring. Another star Scottish endurance driver is Ryan Dalziel who in 2012 won the FIA World Endurance Championship, as well as taking a class wins in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and in the 12 Hours of Sebring.
In the British Touring Car Championship Scotland has had a double champion in John Cleland. A number of drivers have raced successfully in recent years including Anthony Reid, David Leslie and Gordon Shedden, who won the championship in 2012. One round of the championship is annually held at Knockhill in Scotland.
In motor cycling, the legends continue. Jock Taylor took the Sidecar World Championship in 1980 and Jimmy Guthrie and Bob McIntyre both set the standard for Scottish motorcycle competitors on either side of the war.
In the 1980s and 90s, it was Niall Mackenzie and Steve Hislop who led the way. Mackenzie competed in the 500cc Grand Prix championship (now MotoGP) for nine years from 1986 to 1994, only twice finishing outside the top ten. He went on to win the British Superbike Championship no less than three times.
Borders man Steve Hislop won the British Superbike Championship in 1995 although was better known as the undisputed king of the Isle of Man TT races, winning no less than eleven TTs.
The Scottish off road motorcycling scene has produced numerous British Enduro and Motocross champions, most recently Richard Hay in the British Enduro Veteran Class. Euan McConnell contested the World Enduro Championship from 2001 to 2007. In 2009 and 2010 teams from Scotland competed to medal results in the International Six Days Enduro and in each of the same years Scottish riders successfully finished the grueling Dakar Rally as the first Scots to do so. Scotland can even claim a World Champion in motorcycle stunt riding with Kevin Carmichael taking the title in 2002.
Scottish Motorsport Venues
There are various motor sport venues throughout Scotland, the biggest of which is Knockhill Racing Circuit in Fife www.knockhill.com. For more information on 4 wheel motorsport in Scotland you can visit the Scottish Association of Car Clubs website: http://www.scottishcarclubs.com/homepage.aspx
For Motorcycle sport in Scotland, the Governing Body is the SACU and information on events, news and venues can be found at: http://www.sacu.co.uk/
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 coverage of Scottish sport is one of the key tools used by Scottish editions of English newspapers, most successfully employed by The Scottish Sun. However, the vast majority of sports coverage in Scotland is of association football.
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 (although not the SPL, to which the BBC hold exclusive radio rights).
In 2011, QuipuTV – a multimedia production company and digital broadcaster specialising in livestreaming – launched with the aim of providing a digital platform for minority sports in Scotland. They produce live programming for Cricket Scotland, Scottish Hockey Union, Scottish Swimming, and Netball Scotland.
- Politics and sports
- BBC Scotland Sports Personality of the Year
- Scottish Institute of Sport
- Sport in Glasgow
- Sport in the United Kingdom
- Association for Physical Education
- Sports Development Foundation Scotland
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- Horne, Marc (25 April 2010). "Highland games were the model for modern Olympics". London: The Times. Retrieved 3 May 2010.
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- This is correct as of 14 March 2011
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- Peter Nicol defects to England 2001, bbc.co.uk
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- Executive urged to target future swimming success, Sunday Herald
- PDF - Scottish Summer Olympic Medal Winners, compiled by sportscotland
- Association for Physical Education Association for Physical Education afPE Official website