Scotland is preparing to vote in a referendum about becoming an independent nation and leaving the United Kingdom. There has been some discussion about what this would mean for Scottish athletes, in particular concerning their Olympic status. IOC President Bach has already come out and said that Scotland would be welcomed into the Olympic Movement as an independent nation, if that occurs. But did you know that Scotland has already competed at the Olympics as an independent nation, even though they have been part of the United Kingdom since 1707?
In 1908, England, Ireland (then part of Great Britain), Scotland, and Wales entered separate national teams in the hockey (field) tournament, with Scotland sharing the bronze medal with Wales. In 1912, England, Ireland, and Scotland entered separate national teams in the cycling road race, with Scotland finishing fourth. All other Scottish appearances at the Olympic Games have come as part of Great Britain’s teams.
Of note, however, Scotland could form its own National Olympic Committee with no delay, as it has affiliations with more than the five requisite IOC-recognized International Federations. Scotland is an independent member of the following nine IFs: Badminton, Basketball, Boxing, Curling, Football (Soccer), Hockey (Field), Table Tennis, Volleyball, and Weightlifting.
Will Scotland again be represented as their own nation at the Olympics? We shall see – its been over 100 years since it occurred, but it has happened.