GB international hill runner Andy Douglas joins the Rio septet in the running for the coveted accolade.
Governing body Scottish Athletics took the decision to extend the short-list from the usual three to five names in order to recognise an oustanding year for the sport north of the border.
Eilidh Doyle, Lynsey Sharp and Laura Muir have monopolised the prize in recent years. All three reached Olympic finals and broke the Scottish record in 2016 and are listed for the award.
Andrew Butchart, who has claimed two long-standing Scottish records and was sixth in the 5000 metres final in Rio, joins them as well as great Scottish Run winner and Olympic marathon top ten finisher Callum Hawkins, Olympic 5000m finalist Eilish McColgan and European 5000m bronze medallist Steph Twell.
The winner will be announced at Scottish Athletics’ annual awards dinner in Glasgow on 29 October, with a panel facing tough decisions there and also for the Para Athlete of the Year award where the six Scots who brought home seven medals from Brazil are short-listed.
“I think we can safely say that the bar is being set very high indeed for the Scottish Athlete of the Year award this year – probably the highest it has been for at least a couple of decades,” said director of coaching Rodger Harkins. “We felt strongly that it wouldn’t be fair to exclude an athlete who had been through a tough qualifying process to make Team GB and NI for the Olympics and had then either finished in the top ten or had made the final in their event by coming through a heat.
“That agreement, or formula if you like, then helped us arrive at the list of eight names and hill runner Andrew Douglas has had an excellent season proving himself the best in Britain and with high finishes in the European Champs (fourth) and World Champs (11th) in that discipline.
“Butchart and Sharp both broke the Scottish Record in their Olympic finals; Laura Muir became the first Scot to win the Diamond Race which is the very top echelon of the sport; Eilish McColgan defied her own expectations on return from injury to post PB performances and reach an Olympic final and Steph Twell took an individual bronze at the European Champs in Holland.
“Eilidh Doyle broke her Scottish Record, won a relay gold at the Euros and then a relay bronze in Rio – the first Scot to medal at an Olympics for 28 years in track and field.
“For Callum Hawkins to finish ninth in the Olympic marathon was superb but should not have been a real surprise given his London Marathon performance and, of course, we’ve now seen that again in Glasgow.”
The Para Athlete of the Year short-list features two Rio gold medallists from the Paralympics – sprinter Libby Clegg and seated thrower Jo Butterfield – and 16-year-old triple medallist Maria Lyle as well as Sammi Kinghorn, Derek Rae and Stef Reid.