Commonwealth Games 2018: Archibalds put pedals to the medals

Katie and John Archibald celebrate winning their medals on the Gold Coast
Katie and John Archibald celebrate winning their medals on the Gold Coast
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Rarely does a silver medal upstage a gold but when said Commonwealth Games gong is won by a rider who only touched a track bike less than a year ago, the champ can 
understand. That’s the case for the Archibald siblings.

Katie, 24, already has Olympic, world and European titles to her name but brother John, 27, is a fresh face on the track cycling scene.

A matter of months after giving up his job, hopping on a track bike and setting about emulating her sister’s success, he now has a Commonwealth Games individual pursuit silver medal around his neck.

While Katie has added the women’s equivalent title to her long list of cycling achievements.

The Archibald siblings have both taken a circuitous route into track cycling, with Katie having been a swimmer before switching to two wheels.

While John holds the Scottish 25-mile road time trial record but only rode the boards for the first time nine months ago.

And such are their similarities, they both set new Commonwealth Games records on the way to their medals in Brisbane.

Katie was forced into clocking 3:24.119 for 3km just to qualify for the gold medal ride, while John stopped the clock in 4:13.068 for 4km.

He could not back his time up in the final as he rode 4:16.656 to finish less than a second behind eventual winner Charlie Tanfield – the trade team-mate who beat Archibald’s record in qualifying.

But he was still shocked just to have won silver.

“It’s special. I couldn’t predict that coming into this. I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t back up better into the final, and if I had then it could’ve been something better again,” he said.

“But looking six months ago, to where I am now, it’s a crazy journey so I’m really pleased.

“Even eight or nine months ago, I’d never touched a track bike. I’ve stopped work and gone full-time into cycling in the last three or four months and given everything towards it.

“Scottish Cycling have backed me, they’ve given me physio support, nutritionists, physiologists, all the things you need to recover better and not worry about anything other than your performance.

“I’ve gone into it all guns blazing and luckily I’ve come away with something I can be really proud of.”

While John’s Commonwealth Games record no longer stands, Katie’s remains after she set it in the final heat of qualifying before going on to beat home favourite Rebecca Wasiak with a time of 3:26.008 in the final.

It was a first Commonwealth title for Katie and while she was overjoyed with her success, she was horrified by her feelings towards her brother.

“I’ve already settled my mind that a silver would be an elation. He’s got himself into a position where he’s guaranteed a Commonwealth medal,” she said before John’s final ride.

“Maybe it’s because I’m his sister and you get used to seeing him as just a person. But I never expected it.

“So, I feel horrible for my surprise is what I’m trying to say, but a gold is obviously what everybody wants, so fingers crossed.”

Katie’s own record ride put her within four seconds of world record holder Chloe Dygert, but despite the breakthrough she still sees the American’s record as untouchable.

“I still don’t feel a 3:20 is achievable. Chloe was disappointed with 3:20. She’s talked about a 3:10!” she added.

“It’s a different league but that demand almost makes the rest of the field step up and it does open some fairly heavy philosophical questions around sport and how the boundaries keep moving.”

Elsewhere in the Anna Meares Velodrome, Callum Skinner failed to make the second round of the keirin, while Jack Carlin finished just outside the medals in fourth.