Scotland and the Commonwealth Games

The Games

Did you know that a Scottish athlete won the first marathon of the British Empire Games, or that one of Scotland’s most successful medallists was a diver?  For its 84 years of existence, the Commonwealth Games has awarded 8582 gold, silver and bronze medals to a total of 55 countries – 355 of these medals were awarded to Scottish athletes. Out of the 19 times the Games took place, they were held in the UK 5 times, 2 of which – in Scotland – in 1970 and 1986, both times in Edinburgh. Now, did you know that the University of Stirling holds the official Commonwealth Games Archive  with photographs, designs, clothing, trophies, papers and artefacts dating back to the first British Empire Games in 1930.

It is less than 3 months before the Opening of the XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the Division of Communications, Media and Culture is getting a part of the action. Professor Richard Haynes and Master of Research student Damyan Kachulski are working with the Commonwealth Games for the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme. They are doing archival research on the involvement of the Scottish team in the Commonwealth Games. To make their work accessible to the public, they have made some of their research available on the Sport Heritage  blog in an easy to read format. Each week they will be posting a new article telling the story of the Commonwealth Games and Scotland’s place in it.

Drawn from the Commonwealth Games Scotland Archive, an exhibition will display a selection of items and artefacts which tell a rich story of Scotland’s involvement in the Games, including the hosting of the 1970 and 1986 Edinburgh Games. First in the Pathfoot building of the University of Stirling and during the 2014 Games in the Glasgow Fruit Market, the exhibition will celebrate 80 years of participation and achievements by Scotland in the Commonwealth Games from its origin in 1930 through to the 2010 Games in Dehli.

Finally, have you noticed that Scotland has its own team for the Commonwealth Games but not for the Olympic Games? Read Sport Heritage article ‘Why Team Scotland and Not Team GB?’  to find out how a Canadian journalist Bobby Robinson in 1928 persuaded the Scots, Welsh and Irish to establish their own teams, therefore leaving no room for a ‘No!’ to the English who wanted to resist Canada’s growing sport ambition and international influence through the establishment of the British Empire Games.