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Olympic Sportsmen


Scotland has produced some superb sportsmen, yet few have reached the heights of winning an Olympic gold. Here are some the Scottish men who have made it...

Launceston Elliot. Elliot won a gold medal for weightlifting – the Heavyweight One Hand Lift - in the first modern Olympic Games at Athens in 1896. Although proud of his Scottish heritage Elliot spent parts of his life in Australia, England and India.

Wyndham Halswelle. Halswelle won his gold in a unique fashion. In the final of the 400m at the London Olympics in 1908, an American competitor ran in front of Halswelle to “block” him – a move accepted by the Americans, but not by the Olympic authorities; the result – the race was suspended and rerun, with American runners boycotting the rerun. So although Halswelle gained the gold, somewhere sportsmanship had left the arena...

Chris Hoy. Track cyclist Hoy won the 1km time trial at the Athens Olympics in 2004. Four years later he won three gold medals at the Beijing Olympics, an extraordinary achievement which propelled him in to the record books. An accomplished sportsman, Hoy represented his country at junior level in rowing.

Eric Liddell. One of the characters in the film Chariots of Fire, Liddell won the 400m at the Paris Olympics in 1924; in the process set a new world record, thus doubly surprising his competitors as 400m was not meant to be his strongest distance.

Mike McIntyre. McIntyre won a gold medal for sailing – Star class - at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul. His partner in that event was Englishman Philip Vaile. At school McIntyre excelled at swimming, but as an adult chose to focus on sailing as his main sport.

Dick McTaggart. McTaggart came from a family of boxers – he had brothers who were champions in their own right in the sport. He won gold for Lightweight boxing at the Melbourne Olympic Games in 1956. He was awarded the Val Barker Trophy to acknowledge his achievement as the best boxer at the Melbourne games.

Arthur Robertson. Robertson was a member of the British team that won gold at the London Olympics in 1908 for the three mile team race. An unassuming man, Robertson turned to athletics following injury which forced him to give up his first love – cycling.

Allan Wells. Wells won gold for the 100m at the Moscow Olympic Games in 1980. As with so many of the Scottish sporting champions mentioned here, he excelled at more than one sport, focusing initially on the triple jump and the long jump.

David Wilkie. Wilkie won his Olympic gold at the 1976 Olympics in the 200m breaststroke event, achieving a world record in the process. Wilkie set a precedent for swimmers wearing goggles and hat whilst racing – his belief was that they helped streamline his progress through the water.

A postscript – some of the men who achieved greatness in the early days of the Olympics met tragic ends. Halswelle died in action in World War One. Liddell died in an internment camp towards the end of World War Two.
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Content copyright © 2013 by Asha Sahni. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Asha Sahni. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Asha Sahni for details.

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