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SBD Global/September 19, 2013/Olympics

Scotland Could Field Own 2016 Rio Olympics Team If Independence Granted

Scottish Sports Minister Shona Robison believes Scotland will field a team in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Scottish Sports Minister Shona Robison suggested that "an independent Scotland would field its own Olympic and Paralympic teams" at the 2016 Rio Games, according to Josh White of the LONDON TIMES. Robison "is confident" that should the Scottish electorate opt for independence in next year’s referendum, Scotland "will satisfy the requirements for being a separate Olympic nation" to England, Wales and Northern Ireland, who compete under the banner of Team GB. At the 2012 London Games, 55 Scots competed for Team GB, "making up more than" 10% of the squad. However, they accounted for 12 out of 65 -- more than 18% -- of British medals won and almost 25% of golds, with seven out of 29. Robison said, "We’re comfortable and assured Scotland will have its own Olympic and Paralympic team. It will bring many benefits" (LONDON TIMES, 9/18). The Scotland DAILY RECORD reported Scotland "already meets criteria relating to its sporting structure and the number of affiliated national Olympic sports federations." Robison said the only obstacle to overcome was an "independent state recognised by the international community" (DAILY RECORD, 9/18).

PROS AND CONS: The BBC reported Robison said that "more Scots would get the chance to participate in Brazil and future Games if independence became a reality." She also insisted that Scottish athletes "would not be disadvantaged by independence, even though they would be denied access to traditional funding streams and facilities." Robison: "We have made substantial investments." Robison added Scottish athletes would have access to a "fantastic new velodrome and a fantastic new sports arena" in Glasgow as well as a new £25M ($40M) performance center for sport in Edinburgh. However, "not everyone is convinced that Scotland would be better off competing as a separate nation." Badminton player Imogen Bankier said that her country "does not have the facilities, funding or depth of talent to make a major impact at future Olympics." Bankier: "We're lucky with the way that it stands now for Scotland. We can tap into the English system and be part of Team GB when it suits us and use it our advantage. Independence would mean we would lose that. That's only going to see sports suffer" (BBC, 9/18).

BOA STANDS PAT: The London TELEGRAPH reported the BOA said that "it will not consider" an independent Scottish team unless the country "votes to be an independent nation." A BOA spokesperson said, "At this point in time, Team GB comprises athletes from all four home nations. Until the referendum has been held, we won't know the outcome and possible consequences for a British Olympic team. Once we have those facts, we will address them" (TELEGRAPH, 9/18).
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Olympics, United Kingdom

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