By Peter Jardine, Head of Communications
The Olympics in Japan are over but our memories will linger a good deal longer.
And, especially, the impact of our #TokyoTwelve who made a huge contribution to the athletics efforts by Team GB in Tokyo and Sapporo.
Laura Muir and Josh Kerr commanded the headlines after claiming silver and bronze medals in the two 1500m finals – the first individual medals for Scottish athletes within Team GB at the Olympics since Liz McColgan and Yvonne Murray in 1988.
We want at this juncture to warmly thank all the athletes and their families and coaches – as well as the clubs who developed them over many years – for your dedication over long periods and inspirational moments over the past fortnight.
It’s a huge motivational boost for the wider sport in Scotland and that’s where the shared responsibility comes in and how you can help maintain and grow our sport.
We’ve had almost 1400 names for track and field championship events coming up in Grangemouth and Aberdeen and that’s taking us back to 2018 and 2019 levels which demonstrates a remarkable recovery by athletes, coaches and clubs to the Covid-19 crisis.
But there are still spaces to compete at U20/U15/U13 level and also to come along and support/spectate at the 4J Studios Senior/U17 Champs at Grangemouth this weekend.
We’re also urging folk to renew membership of scottishathletics to help us help out sport.
Some 3000 members or so were ‘hibernating’ earlier in 2021 – with around 1000 of those having now returned. We’d love a few more to come back.
Learning never stops and we’ve been working really hard (through the pandemic) to deliver coach education.
Over the months of September, October, November there are Coaching Course Opportunities coming up at Inverness, Livingston, Dundee, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Tranent and Grangemouth.
It’s great to see a couple of imminent courses fully subscribed – please check the page to sign-up for a forthcoming course
Photo by David Pearce for Team GB
Our resident Historian, Arnold Black, has written the following summary of the Scots in Japan – putting individual performances into context.
The 2020 Olympic Games are over. For the Scottish track and field athletes, this was a major success.
Tokyo delivered the first medals in individual events for 33 years and the largest Scottish contingent to compete in Olympic finals (double figures for the first time).
Pride of place goes to our medal winners, both achieving their glory with personal bests and national records.
For Laura Muir, the greatest satisfaction. The hard work paying off. This was her 8th attempt at a medal on the world outdoor stage: From 16th in the 3000m at the 2012 World Juniors, SF World 2013, 5th World 2015, 7th Olympic 2016, 4th 1500 World 2017, 6th 5000 World 2017, 5th World 2019 and now the silver medal in a superbly run race in a new British record of 3:54.50, bettering her own record set five years ago.
Laura has now run over three seconds faster at the event than any other British athlete.
The men’s 1500m provided two Scottish athletes in the final for the first time in Olympic history. Both, on their day, are capable of medals.
This time it was Josh Kerr in a majestic Scottish Record of 3:29.05 to take bronze. Only Mo Farah has run faster amongst British athletes.
The Scottish record had been held by John Robson at 3:33.83 for 40 years until Chris O’Hare broke it in 2017. Jake Wightman bettered it in 2019 and then reduced it below 3:30 to 3:29.47 in 2020.
Now Josh holds the record and the bronze medal, the first 1500m medal won by a Scot since John McGough in 1906. Jake, 5th in the World 1500m final in 2019, will be disappointed with 10th in his first Olympics, but he can come back stronger.
(Photo by Sam Mellish for Team GB)
Jemma Reekie was so close to joining them on the podium. 0.09 seconds – time it, that was the fine margin between success and an outstanding run.
A personal best of 1:56.90 in the Olympic 800m final, but finding herself behind one of the most surprising of British medal-winners, an inspired Keely Hodgkinson.
Eilish McColgan produced a top ten finish in an excellent time, although not in the event in which she was most experienced.
She came from the disappointment of a jostling 5000m heat to produce her highest-placed finish in her 3rd Olympic Games, the first time she had run 10000 metres in a major championship.
Andrew Butchart was never in contention for a medal but after missing the entire 2020 track year, he was over ten seconds faster than anything else he had produced this year. On paper, he was 14th fastest this year of the 16 finalists so to finish in 11th position was an excellent performance.
Beth Dobbin equalled her season’s best of 22.78 in qualifying from her heat but the semi-final was the most that could have been expected, with 22.26 as the slowest of the non-automatic qualifiers for the final.
Nicole Yeargin was unfortunate to be disqualified for a lane infringement when she had otherwise qualified from her 400m heat but she produced three solid relay runs of 50.69, 50.59 and 50.44 and raced in both the 4x400m finals.
Zoey Clark was unfortunate not to compete in either the mixed or women’s 4×400 finals after her runs of 50.49 and 50.94 from leg 2 in the heats.
Our marathon runners struggled in the heat and humidity of Sapporo, although for Callum Hawkins it appears it was injury that affected his run.
Stephanie Davis, in her first international championship, came through strongly for her 39th placing, having been 65th at the halfway point.
For Steph Twell that must have been a tough gig with no respite from the heat and humidity.
It is not the way she would have wanted her third Olympics to end but it speaks volumes that she stuck in and completed the course when the race was not going the way she would have planned.
Tags: Aberdeen, Andy Butchart, Beth Dobbin, Calllum Hawkins, Eilish McColgan, Grangemouth, Jake Wightman, Jemma Reekie, Josh Kerr, Laura Muir, Nicole Yeargin, Olympics, Steph Davis, Steph Twell, Tokyo 2020, Zoey Clark