Celtic medals in Beijing Olympics 2008
- Published in Sports
Beijing medals were celebrated in the Celtic countries as Olympic heroes returned home.
As usual, most the Celtic medals were won in watersports, with the remaining wins being obtained in cycling and boxing.
Ireland won 3 medals (1 Silver and 2 Bronze) in the Beijing 2008 Olympic games. All the Irish medals were won in Boxing with a Silver for Kenny Egan in Light Heavyweight, a Bronze for Darren Sutherland in Middleweight and another Bronze for Paddy Barnes from Belfast in Light Flyweight.
The three new medals make Boxing as Ireland's premier sport at Olympic level accounting for over half the nation's all-time total of 23 medals.
Compiting for Great Britain, Scotland won 6 medals (4 Gold and 2 Silver), with Edinburgh's track cyclist Chris Hoy becoming Scotland's greatest Olympian of all time.
The Scottish medals were won by Chris Hoy with 3 Gold medals in Men's Keirin, Men's Team Sprint and Men's Individual Sprint; Cyclist Ross Edgar with a Gold medal in the team sprint riding; Canoeist David Florence with a Silver medal in the Men's slalom C-1; and rower Katherine Grangen with a Silver medal in the coxless pair race.
Scotland's Olympic medal heroes were welcomed back home with a triumphant parade in an open top bus down the Royal Mile in Edinburgh after attending a reception at the capital's castle.
Also compiting for Great Britain, Wales won 5 medals (3 Gold and 2 Silver) in the nation's most successful Olympic Games since 1920.
The Welsh medals were won by Nicole Cooke with a Gold medal in women's cycling; Rower Tom James with a Gold in coxless four; Cyclist Geraint Thomas with a Gold in Team Pursuit; Rower Tom Lucy with a Silver medal in the Mens Eight; and Swimmer David Davies with a Silver medal in the men's marathon 10 km open water swim.
Back in Wales, the athletes were given an official welcome at the building of the National Assembly, from where they took to an open-top bus tour and were greeted by a 2,000-strong crowd.
Compiting for France, Brittany won 2 Silvers with a medal in Windsurfing by Julien Bontemps and another in BMX by cyclist Laetitia Le Corguillé respectively.
Compiting for Spain, Galicia won 4 medals (2 Gold and 2 Silver) in watersports, with 1 Gold for sailor Anton Paz, 1 Gold for canoeist Carlos Perez and 2 Silver medals for canoeist David Cal.
The Celtic nations are traditionally very competitive at watersports due to their rich seafaring heritage.
The Scottish Government calls for a Scottish Olympic team
Out of the field, the Scottish Olympic success has prompted new calls for Scotland to have its own team at the Olympics.
At present, Scottish and Welsh athletes participate in the Olympics as part of the Olympic team of Great Britain.
Speaking on behalf of the Scottish Government, Sports Minister Stewart Maxwell said that a national Olympic team would be good for Scottish sport and pointed to the success of other small nations.
"This is an exceptionally brilliant nation - at the same time a small nation. Scotland can compete on the world stage - we proved that in the Olympics", told the Scottish Sports Minister.
Athletes from the Celtic nations were not allowed to fly their national flags at the Beijing Olympics as the Chinese organising committee banned the display of all the flags from non-Olympic member in an attempt to prevent the waving of Tibet’s flag.
But Wales' Tom James defied the Chinese ban on non-Olympic national flags such as the Welsh by proudly waving a Welsh flag as he won his medal.
The Welsh athlete told “I’m a patriotic Welshman – born in Cardiff and living near Wrexham – and it’s brilliant to put Wales on the map at the Olympics.”
Bagpipes at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics
A Scottish Pipe band was chosen to represent Europe at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics.
Dundee's Mains of Fintry Pipe Band were watched by billions of TV viewers across the world as they played traditional Scottish tunes such as Scotland the Brave while European athletes entered the Chinese National Stadium.
At the opening ceremony, Scottish Piper Eddie Wighton said: "We are very excited about the opening night and we are very proud and honoured to be here representing Scotland at the Olympics as well as being officially here to represent the European continent."