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Scotland’s First Olympian

Scotland’s first Olympian hailed from Musselburgh, his name was Hugh Roddin, universally known as ‘Hughie’. Hughie was born in the Newbigging district of ‘The honest town’ on March 10, 1887.

Roddin became Scotland’s first Olympian in 1908 and went on to win a bronze medal at featherweight during the London Olympics.

Hughie first came into contact with boxing through legendary Charles ‘Charlie’ Cotter.  Cotter worked as a timekeeper, physical trainer and boxing coach and a dominant figure in Scottish boxing.

Hughie rapidly won two Scottish Eastern District Featherweight Titles under Cotter’s guidance. Even better was to follow in the years 1907-08,  when he went on to win the Scottish Amateur Featherweight Title.

The Scottish Gymnastic Association announced that only three boxers were going to the London Olympics. McGurk, Wallace and Norton hailed from the same gym: ‘The National,’ Glasgow. The clubs protested and two more names were added: Hugh Roddin and Patrick ‘Paddy’ Fee.

Hughie was a beaten semi-finalist – the other beaten semi-finalist and former ABA champion (1994-95-96) Tommy Ringer – refused to fight for the bronze medal.

The decision seemed an odd one as Hughie’s conqueror Charles Morris was defeated by Ringer earlier that year.

After much debate on whether or not they could award a medal due to the fight not taking place between the two defeated semi-finalists, it was decided that Hughie was to be awarded the bronze medal.

Within a year of the Olympics Hugh Roddin went on to turn professional, making a successful debut by beating Harry Thomas.

Hughie’s professional career record: Won 25 Drew 2 Lost 0

Hugh Joseph Roddin (March 10, 1887 – March 3, 1954)


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