In celebration of Scottish Women and Girls in Sport Week we look back at some of the milestones for women’s sport at this summer’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Birmingham 2022 was the first major multi-sport event to include more medal events for women than men and the first time since the Games began that Team Scotland was represented by more female athletes than male. At the first Games in 1930 there were just two disciplines open to women: swimming and diving, with Scotland represented by just four female athletes. At Birmingham 2022 Team Scotland was represented by 134 women and 125 men. Kirsty Gilmour became only the second female athlete and first openly gay flagbearer to lead out the team at an opening ceremony.
Team Scotland was also led by a woman for the first time in Games history with Elinor Middlemiss becoming our first female Chef de Mission. Scotland’s highest capped female Badminton player of all-time, Elinor represented Team Scotland at five Commonwealth Games winning a Women’s Doubles bronze medal with Sandra Watt in 1998 and Team bronze in 2002. Her appointment followed two spells as Deputy Chef de Mission at Glasgow 2014 and Gold Coast 2018.
Two of the three General Team Managers, appointed to lead the key areas of operational activity, were women, as were 52% of the Sport Team Managers, up from 28% at Glasgow 2014 and 38% at Gold Coast 2018.
There was history made in the sporting arena too with first time Scottish representation in women’s Rugby 7s, women’s basketball and women’s wheelchair basketball, all three teams recording a top six finish. Sarah Adlington became the first Scottish judoka to win two Commonwealth Games gold medals, retaining her title from Glasgow 2014, while Shannon Archer won Scotland’s first ever medal in women’s artistic gymnastics with bronze in the Vault final and Neah Evans became the first female cyclist to win three medals at a single Games with two silver and a bronze across both Track and Road events.
From Beth Potter winning the first medal for Team Scotland on the opening day of the Games with triathlon bronze to Louise Christie’s rhythmic gymnastics silver, a best ever result in the sport, female athletes contributed 23 medals to Team Scotland’s record tally at a Games outside Scotland.
Eilish McColgan struck gold and silver on the athletics track, the latter Team Scotland’s 500th medal of all-time, and was chosen to be Scotland’s closing ceremony flagbearer as the 22nd Commonwealth Games came to an end.