From sickness to silver, Sharp defies the odds

Lynsey Sharp celebrates after crossing the line to win the silver medal. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Lynsey Sharp celebrates after crossing the line to win the silver medal. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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IN THE most emotional scene so far at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, Scottish sprinter Lynsey Sharp broke down as she revealed the drama that led up to her silver medal win in last night’s women’s 800-metre final,

The 24-year-old told how she had been receiving treatment in hospital and needed to be put on a drip in the athletes’ village until 5:30 yesterday morning – just hours before she was due to make her comeback in front of a worldwide audience in her home nation.

The day before, Sharp, of Edinburgh, was one of the two fastest losers in the semi-finals for the event.

But she said she was determined to put her health problems behind her and produce the race of her career – running with the words “Get Out Strong Commit” written in large black capital letters on her hand.

Barely able to choke back tears after taking silver in front of an ecstatic crowd last night, she said: “This is my everything. The last year has been obstacle after obstacle, even right up to this morning, being in hospital in the athletes’ village until 5:30. I hadn’t slept for 12 hours and was throwing up all night and had a drip in my arm.

“But there was no way after going through everything I have been through I was not going to get a medal today.

“I know how low the points can be. Yesterday I almost lost it and today I had to come out and get it right and thankfully I did.”

Thanking everyone who helped her to success, she added: “Everyone thinks athletics is an individual sport but it’s a massive, massive team effort. I want to thank my mum and dad and sister, friends and family who’ve seen all the lows – that’s who I want to share it with.

“I was thinking, ‘How can I possibly be in shape?’. It’s an absolute miracle.”

Sharp said her medal glory would make up for being denied a lap of honour at last year’s 
European Championships at Helsinki.

The Scot won silver in the 800m but was later awarded gold after Russian runner Yelena Arzhakova was banned for two years for a doping offence. Last night Sharp said: “I was done out of my lap of honour at the European Championships in Helsinki and I really wanted to do that.

“As soon as I finished, that was in my mind and I grabbed a Saltire and got running.”

And last night the athlete Tweeted: “This was my everything. I love you all. Never ever give up. Always be grateful. #CommonwealthSilver”

Sharp is the daughter of former Scottish sprinter Cameron Sharp, who won bronze in the 100m and 200m at the 1982 Commonwealth Games.

Her father later suffered a devastating brain injury following a car crash in 1991 and his mobility is now severely restricted. He famously presented her gold medal from Helsinki at a ceremony in the Emirates Arena in Glasgow in January this year.

Her mother, Carol, is also a former 800m runner for Scotland.

Last night, fellow sports stars paid tribute to the brave Scot. Steve Cram, himself a former Games champion, said: “Lynsey has had a such a difficult year. She was hospitalised with a wound that didn’t heal properly. She isn’t always one to tell her own story but it was known in athletics.

“At the start of the season, she was struggling to even make the qualifying time but she has raced and raced to get into shape.

“She was in tears after the semi-final because she thought she hadn’t run well enough to get into the final. But what a performance tonight.”