UK & World News

  • 25 February 2014, 9:43

Scottish Olympic Medallists Back United Team GB

Team GB's Scottish Sochi medallists have backed the continuation of united British teams at future Games, saying that competing as an independent nation could detract from the Olympic experience.

Team GB secured a record-equalling medal haul in Russia, but if Scotland votes for independence it could be the last time a united British team travels to a winter games.

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond says that an independent Scotland will apply to the International Olympic Committee to send a team to future Games under the Saltire.

Such a change would have a dramatic effect on winter sports, with half of Team GB's four medals won by the all-Scottish men's and women's curling teams.

If Scotland votes 'Yes', those athletes, and all Scots including Andy Murray, would be ineligible for Team GB at future Games.

On their return to Heathrow on Monday night, the captains of both curling teams said the dilution of Team GB would diminish the Olympic experience.

Asked by Sky News if she would prefer to compete for Team GB or Scotland, women's skip Eve Muirhead said: "For our curling teams, nine times out of 10, we represent Scotland at the European and World Championships, and that's a great honour to have your country on your back.

"But when it comes to the Olympic Games and you get a chance to represent Team GB, it makes it extra special.

"You're one big team and we're all together and it's a great, great feeling to know when you step on that ice that you are part of Team Great Britain and not just part of Team Scotland."

Men's skip David Murdoch, who won silver in Sochi, said: "Whatever happens will happen. It's been an incredible experience being part of Team GB.

"We've had the full support of the entire United Kingdom and we're very proud of that."

Team GB chef de mission Mike Hay, a Scot and a former Olympic curler, said the decision should be left to politicians.

"There is no 'Plan B' for Team GB. If that happens, we'll deal with whatever the consequences are," he said.

A move to a Scottish Olympic team would not be automatic.

An independent Scotland would have to apply to the IOC for recognition and there are doubts as to whether the process would be complete before the 2016 Olympics.

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