The powerful physiques that produced awesome, gold-medal winning performances from Chris Hoy and Allan Wells; the moustachioed machismo of David Wilkie; from another era, the guileless daring of Eric Liddell. This time, the picture looks very different.
At these Games, perhaps more than any other, Scotland's greatest hopes are carried by women. If the Scottish contingent within Team GB pull their weight, there is a strong chance that female athletes will add more medals than the males.
In the pool, Hannah Miley is primed for gold, similarly Katherine Grainger and Heather Stanning in the rowing. Mhairi Spence, in the modern pentathlon, and Jen McIntosh, in the shooting competition, are also contenders in their chosen sports. Kim Little and Ifeoma Dieke, too, are part of a British football squad expected to vie for honours after a winning start which provided London 2012 with its first action.
Both as individuals and in team pursuits, there will be fewer instances of 'Lords of the Rings' than ladies who launch themselves at personal bests in London. There are no Scottish men in the athletics squad, whereas Eilish McColgan, Eilidh Child, Lynsey Sharp and Lee McConnell will compete on the track at Stratford; it is the same in hockey, with Laura Bartlett and Emily Maguire chosen for Team GB; and, across an eclectic range of pursuits, from Susan Egelstaff in badminton to Sarah Clark in judo, the presence of female athletes with medal prospects will be impossible to ignore.
All of which should provide a fitting riposte to those who used to argue that the majority of girls were instinctively turned off by PE at school. If anything, as Margot Wells – wife of the 100m champion of the 1980 Olympics, Allan – told Herald Sport, the balance has shifted in the opposite direction. She believes that the limelight enjoyed by such a significant number of the sorority in London will light the flame for a new generation of athletes.
"Youngsters search for role models. They look at people they see on television and tell themselves: 'I want to do that'. Well, that isn't going to happen in male track and field, because Scotland doesn't have anybody at the Olympics and that should be a concern, not just in London, but for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow [in 2014]," said Wells, who is doing her utmost to generate momentum at the grassroots of running in Britain. "But it is very encouraging that we have a good number of talented females coming through and I am confident they will persuade the next generation to take a greater interest in athletics.
"These young women [such as McColgan and Sharp] have plenty of potential; they are slim, they are pretty and aren't muscle-bound hulks, and I would hope their achievements help to encourage others to take up sport. After all, the Olympics is the biggest show in town, and it reaches audiences which nothing else does."
These words reflect the increasing amount of female participation, but that is not the sole consideration. Whereas the likes of Hoy and David Millar, in cycling, and the swimmers Robbie Renwick and David Carry are surely competing in their final Games, Miley, McIntosh, Little, McColgan and Sharp are all at the outset of their careers and most should be the better for their experiences in London when the Games begin in Rio four years hence. Grainger might be on the cusp of retirement, but in her wake 20-year-old Iona Riley, who has already represented Team GB at the World Under-23 Championships this summer, is starting to make her own waves in rowing.
That abundance of young potential hints at another contrast between Scottish men and women, which has accentuated the furrows on the brow of seasoned athletics coach, Tommy Boyle. "There has been a lot of concern voiced in recent years about how Scottish girls are not interested in sport, but I actually think that we have plenty of excellent role models at the moment. Girls will look at Hannah [Miley] or Katherine [Grainger], Eilish [McColgan] and Eilidh [Child] and be inspired by their example and that has to be a positive development," said Boyle, who mentored, amongst others, Yvonne Murray and Tom McKean, and is currently involved with the Winning Scotland Foundation.
"The big concern is the lack of males who are staying in sport once they leave school, and it obviously disappoints me that there are no Scottish guys in the GB athletics team. That is a sign of a major shift in society and it is something we have to address."
Perhaps football remains the be-all and-end-all for many young men in this country. Or maybe so many sporting females have tolerated apathy and ignorance for so long they have decided to heed the song, whereby sisters are doing it for themselves. But, whatever the reason, as the Olympics kick into action, the spotlight will be as much on our women as our men.
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