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Sport plays a central role in Scottish culture. The temperate, oceanic climate has played a key part in the evolution of sport in Scotland, with all-weather sports like association football and golf dominating the national sporting consciousness. However, many other sports are played in the country, with popularity varying between sports and between regions.
Scotland has its own sporting competitions and governing bodies, such as the Camanachd Association, the Scottish Rugby Union, Scottish Rugby League. The country has independent representation at many international sporting events, for example the Rugby League World Cup, as well as the Commonwealth Games (although not the Olympic Games).
Scots, and Scottish immigrants, have made several key contributions to the history of sport, with important innovations and developments in: golf, curling, football, rugby union (the invention of rugby sevens, first international, and first league system), Highland games (which have contributed to the evolution of modern athletics events), shinty (the predecessor of both ice hockey and bandy), cycling (Kirkpatrick Macmillan invented the pedal bicycle), and water polo (first set of rules, games and internationals).
Highland games, the largest and most widespread multi-sport festivals of the 19th century, are claimed to have influenced Baron Pierre de Coubertin and Dr William Milligan Sloane (a scholar of French History and close friend of Baron de Courbertin) of Princeton when he was planning the revival of the Olympic Games. De Coubertin and Milligan, who was researching his book on Napoleon at the time, saw a display of Highland games at the Paris Exhibition of 1889.