When Chris Hoy collected his sixth Olympic gold medal in 2012, it seemed he would never be surpassed as Scotland’s most successful cyclist.

He now has a challenger. Katie Archibald won her 18th, then 19th and 20th European titles last weekend, making her the most successful cyclist in the event’s history. She adds that European haul to the two Olympic and four World titles she already has.

In winning her three gold medals, she didn’t merely beat the opposition, she obliterated it.

Archibald is clearly, physically, in a very good place. Just six months ahead of the Cycling World Championships in Glasgow, it seems hard to imagine she won’t become world champion on home turf. She might well win multiple world titles.

She is already Scotland’s highest profile active cyclist and a home world title, or titles, will only serve to further raise her profile, and deservedly so.

She is, if anything, under appreciated given her remarkable success which, coupled with the fact she is one of Scotland’s most interesting, intelligent and engaging athletes, makes her a fantastic asset. Merely by her presence, she is having a considerable impact on the advancement of women’s sport.

That Archibald is in such sensational form less than six months after the sudden and tragic death of her partner and fellow cyclist Rab Wardell at the age of just 37, only makes her success even more remarkable.

And it also says much about the importance of sport.

Few would have criticised Archibald if she had never wanted to sit on a bike again, never mind so soon and on the world stage.

It must, at least at times, be hard, if not impossible, to find the motivation to get out of bed let alone train to the level required to win major championship medals.

But the fact she has chosen to return to cycling and has, it seems, thrown herself into training, shows just how important a part sport can play in people’s lives.

It’s impossible to imagine what the past six months have been like for Archibald but the fact she is back doing what she knows best – winning bike races – is, one hopes, bringing her some semblance of normality having had her life thrown upside down.

I urge every Scottish athlete on to success on the world stage, particularly the women, but it’s hard not to admit that I, and probably many others, are willing Archibald on that little bit more this year.

She deserves every ounce of success due to her athletic ability. But knowing what she has had to endure in recent months makes her current and future accomplishments all the more impressive.


All the talk of athletics being a cleaner sport these days is sounding increasingly hollow.

This month, yet another two Kenyans have been banned for doping meaning more than 50 athletes from the country are suspended from competition.

Stellah Barsosio and Gloria Kite Chebiwott are the latest to be excluded following doping violations, and their bans came just a week after marathon runner, Georgina Rono, who was third at the Boston Marathon in 2012, received a four-year ban for evading a doping test.

There is, clearly, a significant problem with Kenya and doping, and a serious investigation into what is going on should be a priority for World Athletics.

There is, of course, the option of an outright ban on the whole country from competing in international athletics events, like Russia received following the uncovering of what was described as the largest state-sponsored doping programme in history in 2014. It is, clearly, an extreme measure, but these are extreme times.

Yes, innocent athletes are punished by such a drastic response. But how many innocent athletes are being deprived of medals due to what seems to be a widespread doping epidemic sweeping Kenya?

At some point, someone has to say enough is enough.


The withdrawal of GB from the women’s World Boxing Championships next month over concerns about the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes is yet another example of how sport really isn’t sure how to move forward when Russia’s invasion of Ukraine remains on-going.

The sport’s world governing body, the IBA, plan to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete under neutral flags, which is becoming the cop-out choice for many sports.

GB’s actions follow Ireland and the USA’s withdrawal from the event, with the latter two countries also choosing to boycott the men’s competition in May.

This is turning into quite a mess.

The boycott by these countries hurts, primarily, their own athletes.

And for what? Unless the majority of countries follow their lead, it’s likely their boycott will be little more than for show, with negligible positive consequences.

However, with the alternative being to keep quiet about Russia and Belarus’ continued participation in sport, nations are stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Sport really needs to take a stance at the highest level rather than leaving individual countries and athletes to decide what action is appropriate.