AILEEN McGlynn has experience of becoming a trailblazer having won Britain’s first gold in Athens in 2004, so the 41 year old took the task of earning Scotland’s maiden medal of the Commonwealth Games in her stride yesterday.
The visually-impaired tandem para-cyclist completed this task with her pilot Louise Haston at just after 5pm, although McGlynn was only disappointed they could not make it the gold medal for the home supporters.
McGlynn, from Paisley, said she had never felt prouder than when racing with the raucous din in her ears, and proudly wearing the Saltire.
“We were aiming for gold but the competition was really stiff and I am really pleased with our efforts to get the silver medal,” said McGlynn, whose ambitions of standing at the top of the podium were thwarted by 18-year-old English rider Sophie Thornhill and pilot Helen Scott.
McGlynn narrowly failed to take it to a third race in the best-of-three contest after coming up just short on the line. “When the crowd roared my heart was going like the clappers,” said McGlynn later, who must now ponder her future after a stellar career. As well as silver yesterday and in addition to her Athens success, she won two gold medals at the Beijing Olympics and was made an OBE five years ago.
McGlynn could draw some comfort from the fact that it took someone over 20 years younger to beat her. There was also the knowledge that there was little more she had to give. In what she knows could be her last major finals, McGlynn left all she had on the track. It was a particularly emotional day for Haston, who came through sportscotland’s Gold4Gold programme aimed at identifying individuals who could enhance Scotland’s medal prospects. The Edinburgh rider’s son Riley celebrates his ninth birthday today and he was permitted to press the starter counter yesterday during the warm-ups, before promptly bursting into tears.
Asked what the future holds, McGlynn said: “That’s a big question. I would love to carry on because I love my sport but I don’t think there will be much funding after this. My best achievement is to win my two gold medals in Beijing but just to race in Scotland with the Saltire on my back has made me so proud and I am really enjoying these games.”
Indeed, she isn’t finished yet, not by a long shot.
McGlynn and Haston will compete in the kilo event on Sunday, where they again have high hopes.