OLYMPIC gold medal cyclist Callum Skinner has created a table from the demolished velodrome where he learned to ride – saying it’s a symbol of what “should” have been.
Skinner, who won gold at the Rio Olympics in 2016, practised on the velodrome in Edinburgh, where Sir Chris Hoy and other stars of the sport also honed his skills.
But the outdoor track was “quietly” demolished this summer. A new indoor velodrome has been ruled out as too expensive and there is no firm start date for the replacement outdoor track.
Skinner recovered as much of the old track as he could manage and used it with recovered wood from elsewhere to make his table.
The 26 year-old posted on Twitter: “10/8/18 demolition of Meadowbank suddenly began, my first track. As soon as I saw I took as much as I could carry.
“This table is a contrast of what should have been, the historic track replaced by a new indoor wooden Velodrome. We have neither, so this table is a small tribute.”
Skinner explained today: “The silver section is the original track – that’s all I could carry – the lighter section is reclaimed wood.”
He added: “Meadowbank Velodrome deserved better than being hastily and quietly demolished without letting the local cycling community save some of this historic track.”
“Despite, one third of the track being demolished before anyone could gain access I’m glad that following my visit many more came to take more of the track that’s so special to us all.
“The success of British cycling owes a lot to Meadowbank, Two Commonwealth Games and the springboard for so many champions.
“Meadowbank was built as temporary in 1969 without any protection from the Scottish weather. It’s a plucky, characterful, esteemed structure. I’m sad to see it go.”
Craig Hardie wrote on Twitter “At least you got something but that is a very sad way for a well used facility ending up.”
Liz Miller? added: “Well done Callum. Glad someone was able to take some of the wood and make something lasting out of it in memory of the thrills and spills of Old Meadowbank.”
Fantapants79 wrote on instagram: “That’s awful dude, I think I got to race that track in the early 90s as a kid living in the UK.
Beholderpics added: “Great that you’ve kept a piece of your past.”
The velodrome was built for the 1970 Commonwealth Games and was the first 250-metre timber track in the UK.
The absence of a roof led to it being nicknamed the “Wellydrome”, due to the frequency races were rained off because of dangers to riding in wet weather.
The track has helped develop some of Britain’s greatest cyclists such as Sir Chris Hoy, Callum Skinner, Kate Cullen, Craig Maclean and many more.
Glasgow got the Sir Chris Hoy indoor velodrome for the 2014 Commonwealth games.
A spokeswoman for Edinburgh City Council said: “The demolition was not a shock, it was a long time coming. The cycling community was alerted.
“The velodrome was no longer usable. There is a plan to build a new velodrome, it will not be indoors due to lack of funds, but there will be a new one and there are facilities in Glasgow.”