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Helen Scott

Based
Manchester

From
Halesowen, Birmingham

Date of birth
25/07/1990

Team

A talented track cycling sprinter in her own right, Helen Scott switched over to the Great Britain para-cycling programme in 2010 to become one of the world’s best tandem pilots.

Having piloted Aileen McGlynn to a silver and bronze medal at London 2012, Scott's partnership with Sophie Thornhill led to dominance, and a host of medals, in the women's tandem sprint events in the years following.

With McGlynn recalled for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, Scott was paired with her old partner and named to her third Games. The track specialist duo will ride in the kilo and individual pursuit in Tokyo, with Scott looking to add to the four tandem medals she already has to her name from London 2012 and Rio 2016.

Career in numbers

4

Total Paralympic Games medals

12

Total UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships medals

4

Total Commonwealth Games medals

Biography

Scott started cycling after being inspired by Sir Chris Hoy and Kelly Holmes' gold medal winning exploits at the Olympics in Athens in 2004, prompting her to join a local cycling club in Halesowen.

Just four years later, having started a degree course at Birmingham University, Scott left her studies after learning she had been selected for a place at British Cycling’s Sprint academy.

In 2009, Scott won the British National Track Championships team sprint title, riding for Halesowen CC with future GB international Jess Varnish – an improvement on the silver medal the pair had won the year before, behind Victoria Pendleton and Anna Blyth.

But a year later, looking for fresh challenges in the sport, Scott moved over to the para-cycling team after her potential as a pilot was spotted, and she was quickly paired with three-time Paralympic gold medallist McGlynn as her “stoker.”

At their first major international event, the 2011 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships in Montichiari, Italy, the newly-formed pair made a great start winning a silver medal in the tandem kilo time trial.

With their first international medal in the bag, they approached 2012 and the home Paralympics full of confidence and started their season well, winning silver medals in the individual pursuit, kilo and sprint at the UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships in Los Angeles.

They took this form into their first Paralympic Games in London and played their part in GB’s phenomenal medal haul with two, picking up a silver in the kilo and bronze in the pursuit events.

Paralympic, world & commonwealth champion

With no UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships in 2013, Scott enjoyed an extended period off the bike. With McGlynn no longer part of the Great Britain Cycling Team, Scott also missed out on the UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships in 2014 as new stoker, Thornhill, was piloted by Rachel James.

However, Thornhill and Scott were paired by Team England for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and enjoyed instant success winning double gold in the sprint and kilo.

This success saw them paired together at the 2015 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships in Apeldoorn, Netherlands, where after winning four silver medals, Scott finally made it to the top step of the podium winning gold in the sprint and kilo events.

They repeated that success in their final event of the season at the Manchester Para-cycling International in November 2015.

However, the pair’s preparations for the Paralympic Games in Rio suffered a setback at the 2016 UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Montichiari, Italy. Looking to defend their titles they had to settle for silver medals in both events.

With no sprint event at the Paralympics, they focused their attentions on the kilo time trial and they were successful, winning gold and breaking the Paralympic record. They also picked up a bronze medal in the pursuit.

A change in partners for 2017 saw Scott pilot Paralympic triathlete Alison Patrick for the UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships in Los Angeles - the pair winning silver in the tandem sprint and bronze in the kilo. Those results in the USA meant that Scott had won world championship medals with three different stokers in her career.

In 2018, Scott teamed up with Thornhill once more - and the reunion led to a brace of world titles on their return to Rio.

The duo won gold in both the 1km time trial and the sprint, setting world records in both events. They stopped the clock in 1:05.079 in the kilo before setting a time of 10.891 in the 200m flying lap qualification for the sprint. They repeated the trick weeks later in the Team England colours at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.

First, the pair claimed gold in the sprint, breaking their own world record in the 200m flying lap qualification with a new benchmark of 10.609. Later in the week, they added 1km time trial gold - again with a new world record as they rode an impressive 1:04.623.

Both world records still stood as the delayed Tokyo Paralympics drew close in the summer of 2021.

The pair remained unbeaten in the two years after Gold Coast, winning the sprint and kilo double in both Apeldoorn in 2019 and Milton in 2020, again dipping below the 1:05.00 mark at the latter, marking a return to something approaching their best following a hip surgery that Thornhill was forced to undergo.

But the Covid-19 pandemic, which pushed the Paralympics back 12 months, prompted Thornhill to retire in order to concentrate on her education. That news opened the way for McGlynn to be recalled for Tokyo and enjoy a reunion with Scott.

GREAT BRITAIN CYCLING TEAM KIT

Great Britain Cycling Team kit

Great Britain Cycling Team's Helen Scott, piloting Sophie Thornhill
Great Britain Cycling Team's Helen Scott, piloting Sophie Thornhill

Palmarès

2020
UCI Track Cycling World Championships, Milton (Canada) kilo Gold
UCI Track Cycling World Championships, Milton (Canada) sprint Gold
2019
UCI Track Cycling World Championships, Apeldoorn (Netherlands) kilo Gold
UCI Track Cycling World Championships, Apeldoorn (Netherlands) sprint Gold
2018
Commonwealth Games, Gold Coast (Australia) 1km time trial Gold
Commonwealth Games, Gold Coast (Australia) Sprint Gold
UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) 1km time trial Gold
UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) Sprint Gold
2017
UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships, Los Angeles (USA) Sprint Silver
UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships, Los Angeles (USA) 1km time trial Bronze
2016
Paralympic Games, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) 1km time trial Gold
Paralympic Games, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) Individual pursuit Bronze
UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships, Montichiari (Italy) 1km time trial Silver
UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships, Montichiari (Italy) Sprint Silver
2015
UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships, Apeldoorn (Netherlands) 1km time trial Gold
UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships, Apeldoorn (Netherlands) Sprint Gold
2014
Commonwealth Games, Glasgow (UK) 1km time trial Gold
Commonwealth Games, Glasgow (UK) Sprint Gold
2012
Paralympic Games, London (UK) 1km time trial Silver
Paralympic Games, London (UK) Individual pursuit Bronze
UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships, Los Angeles (USA) 1km time trial Silver
UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships, Los Angeles (USA) Individual pursuit Silver
UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships, Los Angeles (USA) Sprint Silver
2011
UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships, Montichiari (Italy) 1km time trial Silver