New exhibition celebrates Scotland’s Commonwealth Games heroes

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Angela Bridgeman Baxter
Angela Bridgeman Baxter, a sprinter, competed for Scotland in two Commonwealth Games

A new exhibition curated by University of Stirling experts to celebrate Scotland’s historic sporting heroes is set to open in Birmingham as part of the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

‘Walking in the Footsteps of Heroes’ is based on the Commonwealth Games Scotland Archive held in the University’s collections and celebrates equality, diversity and inclusion among Team Scotland’s former medal winners.

Opening on Wednesday 27 July at Scotland House – the home-from-home for Team Scotland at the Birmingham event – the exhibition includes a timeline of Team Scotland heroes from every Games since 1930 and displays key materials including commemorative medals, historic memorabilia and Team Scotland athletic wear.

It is the third year Professor Richard Haynes and University Archivist Karl Magee have developed a sporting display for Scotland House, with the pair having previously travelled to the Gold Coast and Glasgow Games to present previous exhibitions.

Scotland Ladies Swimming Team British Empire Games 1930

Scotland Ladies Swimming Team, British Empire Games 1930 

Professor Haynes said: “Once again, it is an honour to work with Team Scotland to celebrate their heritage and to share significant stories emerging from their collection.

“Walking in the Footsteps of Heroes includes household names of Scottish sport, but it also spotlights athletes who have been forgotten over time, such as Rosemary Harvey who won four medals for Scotland in a number of wheelchair throwing events and archery in Perth 1962.

“We were asked to showcase the diversity of heroes who have represented Scotland at the Games, and I hope we have managed to achieve this in our selection of personal stories. The exhibition should certainly be a talking point to visitors to Scotland House in Birmingham”

The exhibition profiles Scotland’s female athletes, those from a diverse ethnic or national background who chose to represent Scotland, and pioneers of Scottish para-sports. It also celebrates those athletes with cross-generational family representation for Team Scotland, such as the Heatly’s, McColgan’s, McIntosh’s and Flockhart’s.

Featured athletes

Cissie Stewart, Hamilton 1930

The women’s swimming team were the first female participants for Team Scotland – this included double-medallist Cissie Stewart from Dundee who, during the trip to Canada in 1930, eloped with her fiancée and journalist Bill Hunt.

Joanne Flockhart, Edmonton 1978

Badminton player Flockhart was the only female medallist for Scotland of these Games, taking silver in the Badminton Mixed Doubles alongside Billy Gilliland. Flockhart’s son, Bruce, also represented Scotland at Badminton, and like his mum played in three consecutive Games, from 1994 to 2002.

Angela Bridgeman Baxter, Brisbane 1982

Angela was a sprinter who was born in London and brought to Glasgow as a four-month-old baby by her Trinidad-born parents. In September 1981, she became one of the first recipients of a sports scholarship at the University of Stirling. Angela went on to represent Scotland in the 1982 Commonwealth Games at Brisbane, winning a bronze medal in the 4 x 400m event.  She competed for Scotland in two Commonwealth Games and ranked in the top 10 in every event she competed in between 1980 and 1993.

Liz McColgan Nuttal MBE, Edinburgh 1986

Competing under her maiden name Liz Lynch, Nuttall won Scotland’s only gold medal in athletics in the 10,000m. Nuttall’s refrain, “Don’t be afraid to dream big!”, clearly had a significant impact on her daughter Eilish McColgan who has represented Scotland at the Games since 2014, and in 2021 broke Paula Radcliffe’s long-standing UK record for the women’s 5000m.

Liz Lynch on the track in 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh

Loretta Cusack Doyle, Auckland 1990

Judo appeared for the first time in 1990 and Loretta Cusack-Doyle Cusack won the gold medal in the lightweight (56kg) event – Scotland’s first Commonwealth medal in the sport.

Steve Frew, Manchester 2002

Competing in his fourth Commonwealth Games in Manchester in July 2002, Frew made history for Team Scotland when he won the men's rings event. It was Scotland's first-ever gymnastics Commonwealth Games gold medal.

Steve Frew receives his Commonwealth gold medal

Neil Fachie, Glasgow 2014

Fachie won gold in both Time Trial and Sprint at Glasgow 2014 with pilot Craig MacLean. He made it a ‘double double’, also winning both events at Gold Coast 2018 with pilot Matt Rotherham, setting World and Games records in Sprint qualifying and a Games record in the Time Trial.

Eilidh Doyle, Gold Coast 2018

Team Scotland’s first ever female Flag Bearer at an Opening Ceremony was Eilidh Doyle who took silver at Gold Coast 2018, her third successive Commonwealth Games silver over 400m Hurdles. Alongside a glittering array of Olympic, World and European medals, it cemented Eilidh’s place as Scotland’s most decorated track & field athlete of all-time.