The open-top parade to honour Scotland’s Olympic medallists should be re-routed to include Meadowbank.
SportScotland and the Scottish Government have rushed to organise Wednesday’s event. It is due to start at Edinburgh Castle then travel down the Royal Mile and finish at Holyrood Palace, a route that includes no sporting landmarks but ends less than a mile short of the Meadowbank velodrome which Chris Hoy credits for his achievements.
Much of the crowd will be coming to acclaim Hoy, whose three Gold medals in Beijing made him Scotland’s most successful Olympian of all time and the first Brit in 100 years to win that many Golds in a single Games.
Allister Watson of the East of Scotland Cycling Association said: “Chris Hoy is Scotland’s most successful Olympian with four cycling gold medals. The parade should include his Meadowbank track. It’s like a football team winning the cup but having a parade that misses its ground. Wednesday is a popular night for track cycling at Meadowbank. It would be a marvellous chance for the stars of tomorrow to meet their hero.”
Bill Walker, senior athletic coach at Meadowbank, said people from other sports would also be interested in seeing the parade but now won’t be able to because of its route. “This route has clearly been devised by a non sports person. It’s meant to honour successful Olympians but doesn’t include any sporting landmarks. I know many youngsters in my club would want to see the Olympians and would have been able to do so had the route included Meadowbank.”
Save Meadowbank spokesman Kevin Connor added: “Chris Hoy became Scotland’s most successful Olympian in Beijing. The plans should clearly include the velodrome which played a prominent part in his success. It would be easy to include a stop at Meadowbank.”
Meadowbank is due to be demolished and downsized because its owners, Edinburgh Council, say they cannot afford to refurbish it. Thousands have objected to this, including Chris Hoy who gave the Save Meadowbank campaign his backing in a video released last week.
Campaigners are petitioning the Scottish Government to provide the funding for sports facilities such as Meadowbank.