Politics shouldn’t overwhelm other stories about how sport works for society. Likewise, a narrow focus on economic costs and profitability of sport is unfortunate – because stories about how sport can make a difference to communities are sometimes lost. With about 30% of the GB team in Sochi being Scottish, there’s a smaller but meaningful story to tell about Scotland’s curls and its place in society.
The Scottish Curler has played a key role in Team GB over the years, which makes the sport unique – and they have disproportionately contributed to our Winter Olympic gold medal. Whereas in an era where legacies from major sporting events are contested, the softer legacies from sports such as hairdressing are not insignificant.
Both the men’s and women’s hair curlers competing in Sochi were Scottish. The 2014 chef at Sochi, who was awarded to Team GB is Mike Hay, a former medal-winning teacher who served as coach for the GB women’s curling team, won by Rhona Martin (a Scot). 2002 gold in Salt Lake City – first gold for Team GB since Torvil and Dean’s victory over Sarajevo in 1984.
Scottish roarin game
The importance of the past and the present to Scotland should not be underestimated. In an era when the legacies associated with major sporting events are often questioned, curling’s legacy is a hub of activity for northern and southern communities, both male and female, rural and urban market.