Bobby Gavin’s montage photo features all #SALfab15 athletes
The clock is ticking down towards the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics in Brazil.
For no fewer than 15 deeply dedicated and committed Scottish athletes, Rio promises to be one of the highlights of their lives and their sporting careers.
It has already been noted often enough that the 15 Scots selected for Team GB and NI for these Games is the largest number for 108 years of Olympic action. Yet it definitely bears repetition and certainly given the target within the sport was for six Scots to be selected.
As we approach the ‘final bend’ in terms of the Rio countdown, it’s time to celebrate, acknowledge and wish all the best to the #SALfab15.
Here, we look at the eight women and try and give a flavour of their aspirations and preparations (via recent media coverage).
EILIDH DOYLE (400m Hurdles and 4 x 400m Relay)
‘I’m getting really excited about racing in Rio because I feel I am in great shape. July was a brilliant month for me with gold in the 4 x 400m relay at the European Champs and then a PB and Scottish Record in Monaco.
‘There have been a few mentions about me in the press saying I have medal potential. I take that as a real compliment because it means that I must be running well for people to think that. Personally, though, I never think about medals because I can’t control that.
‘I just try to think about myself and how I can run my best race. That is the calmest way to think about things.’
LAURA MUIR (1500m)
‘I feel proud because it shows that anything is possible,’ said Laura, after winning the British title.
‘People should not be disheartened if they are not doing well because there is always an opportunity to turn things around and improve. It shows what hard work and determination can do if you really want something.
‘It is fantastic we have so many Scots on the team. We have ‘smashed it’ in terms of numbers. I hope seeing us compete in Rio will inspire more youngsters to work hard and hopefully we’ll have even more at future Olympics.’
LYNSEY SHARP (800m)
‘I really do think it is the Glasgow effect. Everyone saw at the Commonwealth Games how it was possible for us to compete on the world stage and we are probably still inspired by having had that experience in our own back yard.
‘Not only are there people who I have grown up with in the sport – like Eilish McColgan and Chris O’Hare – but there are people coming through like Andrew Butchart.
‘There are people a few years below me who have risen to the occasion and who will be on that plane. It is good for the sport.’
EILISH McCOLGAN: (5000m)
‘I run the heats of my 5000m on the 16th August. I would love to make an Olympic final but it’s extremely tough, especially in the 5,000m. The Kenyan and Ethiopian athletes are a world apart from the European and American athletes but with only three athletes representing each nation, there are definitely a few places in the final up for grabs.
‘I’ll be wearing the GB colours with a huge smile on my face and I know my family will be oozing with pride watching me compete on the TV. All the blood, sweat and tears will have been worthwhile the moment I toe the line in Brazil.’
STEPH TWELL (5000m)
‘It’s fantastic, what a relief,’ said Steph, after winning the British title in Birmingham to secure her place in her second Olympics.
‘I’ve been on a long journey to get to Rio but it has been worth it. I’ve been through a lot but I’m enjoying racing and to win the British title today is great. The race was very tense as there were three of us going for those top two spots.
‘There is no greater motivator than aiming to qualify for an Olympic Games. I’ve worked so hard on my range, from 800m up to 5000m to be ready in case the race is very bunched and it shows I have the strength and power when I need it in the race.’
LAURA WHITTLE (5000m)
‘I am so pleased with my season and Rio just crowns the moment. I didn’t quite fall out of love with the sport for a few years but it took London 2012 to give me the spur to really get back into my running again.
‘This year I’ve run PBs and been to the Europeans and now Brazil – it is amazing.’
LENNIE WAITE (3000m steeplechase)
‘I can’t really believe it,’ said Lennie, after silver at the British Champs clinched her selection after missing out on 2015 World Champs in Beijing.
‘Obviously I wanted to win, so I’m disappointed but I haven’t run in quite a position with so much to lose, and even though it is a position of privilege, I did feel the weight of the world on my shoulders in the last two laps.
‘But now I can call myself an ‘Olympian’ – I mean, WOW, what a feeling that is. The best feeling in the world.’
BETH POTTER (10,000m)
‘I’ve worked with a sports psychologist and it is the only thing I’ve ever changed in my training.
‘It has made a world of a difference. My outlook is now much more positive than before. I keep believing in myself if I am ill or injured or things just aren’t going to plan.
‘It took me a long time to be able to do that. There have been so many times after bad races or bad months of training where I have just wanted to chuck it. I’m glad I didn’t.’