News and Views from Scotland

Medals Galore for Scots in Rio

The Rio Olympics were a golden event for many Scottish athletes as Scottish Olympians in Rio equaled the country's best ever medal tally from any Games, matching the 13 from London four years ago. In 2004, Scotland's Olympic medal total was just 4.

The Scots helped Team GB win 66 medals, surpassing the 65 from their home Games in London in 2012. Their medal haul meant that Great won more gold and silver medals than China (with the USA far out in front).

Scotland's tennis star Andy Murray, carrying the Union Jack, led Team GB at the opening ceremony of the Rio Games and set the tone early on by again winning Olympic Gold - the first time anyone has won the men's tennis in consecutive Olympics. He was on a high after recently retaining the Wimbledon title which he won last year (see graphic of Andy after his Wimbledon win this year (graphic © Daniel J Cooper via Wikimedia Commons).

There were Golds also for rower Heather Stanning, in the women's pair, cyclists Callum Skinner - in the men's team sprint - and Katie Archibald - in the women's team pursuit.

Another Scot who did well was Katherine Grainger who won silver in the Women's Doubles sculls with Victoria Thornley. She is the first British female athlete in any sport to win a medal at four consecutive Olympic Games and became Britain's most decorated female Olympian. Katherine had already won silver at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 in the woman's Quadruple Sculls. In Athens in 2004, she won silver in the coxless pairs. In Beijing 2008 she won her third silver, again in the Quadruple Sculls. At the London Olympics 2012, Anna Watkins and Katherine broke the Olympic record as they qualified for the Double Sculls final. They then went on to win the gold medal that year.

After taking two years out of competitive rowing she came back again, aiming to win a medal again in 2016. She had difficulty in even qualifying to join the GB Olympic team but managed to achieve that and then struggled in the qualifying heats at Rio. Katherine and Victoria Thornley, however were leading near the end of the race in the final but Poland managed to inch ahead to win the gold.

Now the 40 year old is facing her retirement from sport. She said: "There have of course been many, many dark days when I couldn't see this happening so to be standing in the Rio sunshine with a medal around my neck is amazing. But regarding Tokyo 2020 - Mum and Dad, I promise I won't put you through it again."

Katherine is well qualified to do a whole number of things. A law degree by a Master's and a PhD in Law of Homicide form King's College London. She also engages in motivational speaking and will be in demand as a TV pundit.

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August 2016

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