Golden girl Archibald makes history as Carlin sprints to bronze

Golden girl Archibald makes history as Carlin sprints to bronze

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Friday 6th August will go down in history as a momentous day for Scottish cyclists, as Katie Archibald and Jack Carlin both made their second visits to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic podium.

Archibald, and her teammate in the Women’s Madison, Laura Kenny, had one goal, which was to make history and become the first ever Olympic champions, with this event making it’s debut in Tokyo – and that they duly did.

In truth, it was as dominant a performance as you’re ever likely to see inside the velodrome, the decorated Team GB pairing winning 10 of the 12 sprints, as well as claiming a lap alongside Denmark and the Russian Olympic Committee, to storm to Olympic glory.

In what was at times a rather chaotic 120 lap race, the Briton’s managed the race impeccably, whilst their main rivals, two-time reigning world champion Dutch pair Kirsten Wild and Amy Pieters, suffered a crash just ahead of sprint number six, which dented their chances. They would eventually finish fourth, as the Danes took silver on 35 points, and the Russian team bronze on 26.

With a tally of 78 points to their names, Milngavie’s Archibald and her teammate Kenny really were a class above the rest, securing their place in the record books as the first Women's Madison Olympic champions.

Speaking afterwards, Archibald, who is still only 27, said:

"I've never wanted something so much and I've never been so nervous. I don’t think it could have gone much better and we’re obviously really happy!

“The Madison is a new event and I was so driven by wanting to be the first team to get it. I’ve thought about [us being the first winners] loads. I’ve thought about it so much because it’s tied up with Laura’s medal tally - it’s such a big deal to me to be the first winners -  it means a lot.”

Of the support from back home, she added:

"My mum is one for turning into the sofa rather than the racing! It's always scarier on the side-lines than in the action - in the action you get the reward. My whole family is obsessed with this sport, but my mum is the only one who loves me no matter what. If I do a bad pull in the team pursuit my dad and my brother are there yapping about it, but my mum thinks I'm great no matter what, and hopefully she thinks I'm brilliant again tonight.”

Next came Carlin’s moment to shine, as he contested the bronze medal race in the Men’s Sprint, having won silver in the Men’s Team Sprint earlier this week.

Lining up alongside the experienced Russian, Denis Dmitriev, 24-year-old Carlin went long in the first heat, showing his power to hold off Dmitriev on the final lap, taking both a tangible and psychological advantage – he would now have two further bites of the cherry to double his Tokyo medal tally.

In the end he only needed the one, as a closely fought second race saw the man from Paisley lead it out, showing true Glasgow grit to hold off his rival by half a wheel to win bronze.

Rightly so, Carlin punched the air as joyous celebrations ensued, well deserved as he shows the world what he’s made of at his maiden Games.

Of his efforts, Jack said:

"It was a tough day today; I didn't have the same in the legs as I did yesterday, but I gave it my all and managed to come away with something. I got 20th at the Worlds last year and I said to myself that I'd never be in that place again.  We focused a lot on the individual event in this extra year and it paid off."

Ahead of the Keirin, and the chance to win gold, silver and bronze at Tokyo 2020, Carlin joked:

"What was it that Jonny Brownlee said? 'Completed it mate’. We'll see...!"

Jack gets his Keirin campaign underway at 07:48 (BST) on Saturday morning.

Speaking of today’s success, Nick Rennie, CEO of Scottish Cycling, said:

“Tokyo 2020 will live long in the memory given all the ups and downs in the build-up, but the Scottish success has been a pleasure to witness. For us to have five representatives on Team GB and to have five medals coming back to Scotland is remarkable, with Katie’s historic gold in the madison the icing on the cake. I’m extremely proud of everyone who has played a part in making this a reality, from first club coaches and parents, right through to those delivering our performance programme and beyond.

“From a performance point of view, this sets us up wonderfully for the Commonwealth Games next year and a home World Championships in Scotland in 2023 – but perhaps more importantly, we hope these performances will inspire people to get on a bike, and in time we’ll see the next wave of Scottish Olympic medallists.

“For now though, we’ll be tuning in to cheer Jack on all over again tomorrow morning!”