I love to hear about athletes who have refused to let the year we’ve all endured set their career back and have actually gone on to turn adversity into an opportunity.
You couldn’t ask for two better examples than the figure skater Natasha McKay and the swimmer Kathleen Dawson.
Natasha is currently out in Sweden at her sport’s World Championships and has qualified for the free skate final of the competition after putting down a personal best in the first part of her event.
Living in Dundee, and her local ice rink being off limits to train for months, has forced her to think outside the box to get herself ready for the biggest competition in her year.
I had a bit of a laugh going out on to a frozen field a while ago with my brothers to throw a few curling stones but it wasn’t part of serious training.
By the sound of it, Natasha has had to get her skates on and take things far more seriously on icy puddles.
I’m glad to hear she didn’t risk anything deeper, mind you!
— BBC Radio 5 Live (@bbc5live) March 25, 2021
It would have been far from perfect but those who adapt – and most importantly, those who refuse to look for excuses when there are plenty out there – are the ones who squeeze every last drop from a their sporting career.
Hopefully Natasha can go on to earn a place at the Winter Olympics. As a four-time British champion who has a brilliant attitude, she certainly deserves it.
You’d think I would have got to know more ice skaters than swimmers down the years but it’s the other way around.
In normal times, I would bump into the swimmers at Stirling Uni quite regularly.
They are definitely near the top of my list of athletes I most admire.
We all need to be dedicated but the early morning starts these guys have made since they were kids is very impressive and so too is the mindset needed to swim length after length, day after day.
I must admit, the monotonous nature of their training – lengths, gym and then more lengths – wouldn’t have been for me.
And on top of all that, they know that their sporting life is shorter than most and realistically, they could well be past their peak by their mid-20s.
Kathleen has spoken about lockdown giving her a “mental reset” and making her appreciate her sport even more.
I think that will have been pretty common across all sports.
And the time she recorded in the 100m backstroke a few days ago – the best in the world this year – shows that isn’t just talk.
It’s a great sign that the Stirling-based swimmers have got things right in the last year and the Scottish Institute of Sport deserves a lot of credit for that.
I must admit, I was shocked when I found out that there hasn’t been a Scottish female medal winner in the pool at the Olympics in nearly 70 years.
I’d love to see someone who has put in the hours in the same gym as me be the one to end that run.
It’s great news that Scotland has stepped up to host the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championships in Aberdeen.
I won’t be taking part unfortunately but it’s got huge importance as far as GB securing a spot at the Olympics is concerned.
I’m sure the Aberdeen bubble will do curling proud!