Athletics

Scotland votes no to independence - save Team GB for Rio 2016

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Scotland have voted no to independence - meaning Team GB as we know it lives to fight another day in the sporting arena.

That's good news in the world of tennis in particular in the short term (although Andy Murray may not agree, after he publicly backed a 'Yes' vote), with Great Britain set to face USA in a Davis Cup world group match in March.

Great rivalries

Other sports wouldn't have been affected either way of course, although it might have made the rivalry that more intense in football and rugby union had 'yes' been the call this morning and the union ended.

One sport in particular that would have been impacted greatly though, is athletics. Throw in cycling, swimming and other Olympic disciplines, and you see where this is going.

Great Britain & Northern Ireland enjoyed impressive medal success at London 2012, creating a platform to build upon at Rio 2016. Of 65 medals won, 13 had Scottish involvement.

Olympic questions

Had the vote been yes, then Scotland would likely win a handful of medals on their own and GB would theoretically lose a similar amount. Where it gets interesting, though, is the Scottish athletes who participate in a team alongside non-Scots. Of the aforementioned 13, all but three came in a pair or team that also had non-Scots. Both would have lost out because of independence.

There was a chance that Scottish athletes could still be part of 'Team GB' if the independent nation could not become a recognised, independent IOC member in the proceeding 18 months after the vote. Again, another complexity has been avoided.

A report from the BBC claims just over 10% of athletes on the UK's 'world class performance programme' are Scottish. Where their funding would come from had things gone another way is now a question people don't have to answer.

Funding issues

Lottery funding, money from the tax-payer, UK Sport - all potential minefields in the sporting debate which was generally forgotten amidst the chaos of Alex Salmond taking on Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown.

But, now it's over, athletes know where they stand north of the border. It might not be ground that they wanted, but it's certainly solid as Team GB on the Olympic stage at least. Roll on Rio.

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Topics:
Athletics
Commonwealth Games
Olympics

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