Sporting icons honoured in Scottish Sports Hall of Fame

Five of Scotland’s most celebrated sporting heroes became the latest inductees into the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame tonight (Wednesday 4 November).

Sir Chris Hoy MBE (cycling), Shirley Robertson OBE (sailing), Shirley McIntosh MBE (shooting), Kenny Cairns MBE (swimming) and Sir Ian McGeechan OBE (rugby) were recognised at an event at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow.

Congratulating the 2015 inductees, Louise Martin CBE, Chair of sportscotland and the Hall of Fame selection panel, said:

“There are halls of fame for music, acting, all kinds of showbusiness.  It seems today that you can find fame almost overnight.  But, sporting fame is achieved over a lifetime of sweat and tears. And it is earned, not given. These five new inductees have certainly earned their place and I am delighted to welcome them into the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame.  

“Scotland has a rich sporting heritage and our inductees have all been trailblazers who have demonstrated the determination and commitment required to excel in their chosen sports, and excel they did.

“Chris, Shirley, Kenny, Shirley and Ian have all done so much to make us proud as a nation, but also to inspire those who follow in their wake.  Each and every one of them epitomise Scotland at its sporting best and is fully deserving of their place in the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame.”

Sir Chris Hoy MBE is Britain’s most successful Olympic athlete of all time, with six gold medals and one silver.

Speaking ahead of the ceremony, Sir Chris said:

“This is a huge privilege for me.  To see my name on a list of some of Scotland’s most inspirational sporting stars, many of them my childhood heroes, I am overwhelmed.

“I enjoyed every minute of my cycling career and still feel like the luckiest man in the world to have been given the opportunity to do what I love.  But this award isn’t just for me.  It’s for all of the people who have supported me along the way, allowed me to focus on my cycling and be the athlete I always wanted to be.  Thank you all.

“I hope that by celebrating Scotland’s sporting history, we can demonstrate that with hard work and determination, the possibilities are endless.  I know that sport gave me an incredible life and I hope that my story, and the stories of all of the inductees, will inspire more people to make sport a part of their lives.”

Having trained as a PE teacher, Sir Ian McGeechan OBE’s lifelong love of rugby took over and the rest, as they say, is history. 

On his induction Sir Ian said:

“I am absolutely delighted to be inducted into the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame.

“When I trained as a PE teacher, and even when I began my playing career, I never imagined what the future would hold.  To have been given the opportunity to play for my country, to play for and then coach the British and Irish Lions, these are very special

“It’s a great privilege to join this incredible group of people who represent the very best of Scottish sport over the years.  When I look at the names on that list, including some of the greats from my own sport, I am absolutely honoured.”

Shirley McIntosh MBE took gold and silver medals in her first Commonwealth Games and in doing so, became the first ever Scottish woman to win a gold medal for shooting.

Shirley said:

“I'm greatly honoured to have been included as an inductee to the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame, and particularly in such illustrious company.

“I'm very appreciative of the support sportscotland and the National Lottery have given to me, and my sport, over the years and this recognition is the icing on the cake of my sporting career.”

Selected for the Paralympic Games in 1984, Kenny Cairns MBE had an outstanding debut collecting an astonishing four golds and one silver, but it was only the start of an incredible 20-year career in sport.

On his induction into the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame, Kenny said:

“I'm both surprised and honoured to be considered for induction into the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame. It's not something that I was expecting at all.

“It’s great that we have this opportunity to recognise the achievements of Scotland’s sportsmen and women of the past, but for me it is also great opportunity to profile our sports and, hopefully, to inspire the next generation.  That would be a fantastic legacy”

As an island nation, it should come as no surprise that we welcome another sailor into the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame.  Shirley Robertson OBE from Dundee made it into the history books by becoming the first British woman to win two Olympic gold medals at consecutive Games.

Shirley reflected on her induction:

“This is very special.  I’m truly delighted to be joining the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame. To read the list of inductees that go before me is to bring back very vivid memories of Scotland’s sporting history, every one a story of grit, talent, dedication and heart, many of which inspired my own relentless drive to be the best.

“It’s quite a moment to be considered part of that extraordinary club!”

Launched in 2002, the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame recognises and celebrates Scotland’s greatest sportsmen and women. The initiative aims to inspire younger generations and promote a culture of Scots recognising and celebrating Scottish success across a range of sports.

Members of the public nominate the sporting greats who have inspired them via the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame website (www.sshf.co.uk) and a panel of experts reviews the submissions.

Including tonight’s inductees a total of 98 of Scotland’s sporting best representing 32 sports from athletics to wrestling have been inducted into the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame.

Also in attendance at tonight’s event at the iconic Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum were fellow members of the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame, athletes, sports organisations, local authorities and individuals representing the breadth of Scottish sport, who all gathered to honour the five new inductees who have made the nation proud.

Inductee Biographies:

Sir Chris Hoy MBE

Chris, from Edinburgh, won his first Olympic gold medal in Athens 2004 in the Kilo – an event that was dropped from the programme for Beijing 2008.  Undaunted, Chris switched his focus to three other track sprint events – the Keirin, Sprint, and Team Sprint. He went on to win a gold medal in all three at the Beijing Olympics, cementing his name in the history books.

In 2012 at the Olympic Games in London, Chris won his fifth and sixth gold medals in the Keirin and Team Sprint.

Chris retired from competitive cycling in 2013 and his achievements throughout his career make him Scotland’s most successful Olympian, the first Briton since 1908 to win three gold medals in a single Olympic Games, and the most successful Olympic male cyclist of all time.

Sir Ian McGeechan OBE

An accomplished internationalist winning 32 caps for Scotland, including nine games as captain, he also made 30 appearances in the famous red jersey of the British and Irish Lions.

Sir Ian started his coaching career in 1986, going on to become Scotland coach from 1988-1993.  His reign included the legendary Grand Slam triumph in the 1990 Five Nations, and a fourth place finish in the 1991 World Cup.

Know as ‘Mr Lions’, Sir Ian led the Lions in 1989, 1993, 1997 and 2009 becoming the only person to have experienced success as both a player and a coach.

Shirley McIntosh MBE

Shirley discovered her love for shooting at school in Dollar and went on to collect medals and set records after joining a squad at the University of Edinburgh.

At her first Commonwealth Games in Victoria in 1994 she picked up gold and silver medals and in doing so, became the first ever Scottish woman to win a gold medal for shooting.

At the 1998 Commonwealth Games, Shirley added another two bronze medals to her collection making her only the second Scottish woman to win four Commonwealth Games medals in total.  Daughter Jennifer has since taken her crown with five Commonwealth medals, a fact of which Shirley is quite rightly proud. 

Shirley’s legacy is alive and well as part of a Scottish shooting dynasty with both daughters Jennifer and Seonaid competing for Scotland and Team GB, while husband Donald is Head Rifle Coach for GB Shooting.

Kenny Cairns MBE

A five-times Paralympian, Kenny won medals in major swimming events all over the world clocking up a total of 13 Paralympic medals at Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004.  He also won an astounding 16 medals in successive World Championships between 1990 and 2006 – including seven gold – as well as 21 European Championship medals between 1991 and 2001.

A former freestyle world record holder for 100 and 200 metres in class S3 Kenny demonstrated that he was still a force to be reckoned with at the World Championships in South Africa in 2006 where he won four medals, two of them gold.

Shirley Robertson OBE

Her sailing career began aged seven in a boat built by her father in the garage of their home in Clackmannanshire.

Shirley collected silver medals at the 1998, 1999 and 2000 Europe Class World Championships and competed in both the 1992 Barcelona and 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. She demonstrated how she had mastered her craft by taking gold in Sydney in 2000.

Four years later Shirley claimed the top spot on the podium again, this time with team mates Sarah Ayton and Sarah Webb in the Yngling class.  Who could ever forget the ecstatic celebrations of the original ‘three blondes in a boat’ following their emphatic win with a day to spare.

Shirley continued to be a trailblazer as the only female skipper competing in the iShares Cup in 2008 where she won the first event in the five-race series..

  1. Inductees of the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame must be:
    1. A person born in Scotland or a person who (under the rules of their sports governing body) is, or would have been, eligible to compete for Scotland.
    2. A person who has been retired from top level participation for two years or more.
    3. Inductees will have retired from their main sport or top level tour, but may still be competing at some level (e.g. have taken up another sport or competing on a senior tour).
    4. Inductees can only be drawn from recognised sports
    5. Inductees can be drawn only from the following categories of participation: coach, competitor, medical practitioner, technical official, referee, sports writer, broadcaster or photographer.
    6. For more information on all previous inductees or to nominate potential new inductees, visit the website: www.sshf.co.uk
  • Date published: 05 November 2015
  • Date updated: 04 May 2016
  • Published by: sportscotland