Voting is now open for the SJA2018 British Sports Awards sponsored by The National Lottery. As far as MARK WOODS is concerned, there is only one contender for sportsman and that’s Duncan Scott.
The life cycle of swimmers is, by tradition, short and sweet. Even the best can come and go in waves. Those who endure, like Michael Phelps, are the exceptions, not the rule.
Yet if Duncan Scott’s two Olympic silver medals at Rio 2016 were somewhat buried amid the swirl of noise surrounding Adam Peaty, his European and Commonwealth golds two years onward have thrust him alongside the breaststroke king as the duo become Britain’s pair of premier pool performers.
The Commonwealth Games can be patchy in its depth, but there was no doubting the value of the gold acquired by the Stirling-based hopeful in winning the 100 metres freestyle in the open air of Gold Coast.
Scott’s opposition was world class, including Australia’s defending champion Kyle Chalmers and South African great Chad le Clos. He denied them all, amid a haul of six medals that made him Scotland’s most decorated athlete at a single Games.
If his relay successes in Rio – and at the preceding and subsequent world championships – established his name, then solo triumphs suggested a next step.
And the 21-year-old reinforced his advancements with three further golds and a silver at the summer’s European Championships in Glasgow, snatching triumph in the 200m freestyle from Lane 8 as a riposte to his silver in the 100m to Italy’s Alessandro Miressi.
Peaty may have landed a world record and four golds at the same event, one in tandem with the local hero, plus Nicholas Pyle and James Guy, in the British 4x100m medley relay quartet.
Yet Scott is now the all-rounder for all seasons.He caused a mighty ripple in 2018. His biggest splash may be to come.
“I think everyone who is in this British team is thinking Tokyo, it’s why we’re all here,” he said.
“But I wouldn’t say I’m looking to peak for Tokyo. It’s in the progression. I might peak for that or it might be 2024, you just don’t know. I’m just trying to get better each year and see where I’m at.”
He would be a worthy sportsman of the year. Perhaps now, and over again.