Knockbacks made Commonwealth success sweeter for former Forres Academy pupil
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Former Inverness Harrier Ellie Stone believes the challenges she suffered in the lead up to the Commonwealth Games made standing on the podium all the more special.
The 21-year-old from Aviemore won silver in the B Tandem Sprint and bronze in the Tandem B 1000 metre time trial acting as pilot for visually impaired Aileen McGlynn.
Stone had hoped to compete as a solo cyclist, but only registered one of the two required qualifying times.
That led to her switching focus to tandem cycling alongside Paralympic champion McGlynn just 12 weeks before the Games.
Adjusting to a whole new discipline to compete at such a high level is never easy.
Before linking up with McGlynn, Stone struggled to get to grips with the tandem bike – which then broke and had to be replaced two weeks before the Games.
The day before racing, Stone found that the number of laps had been changed.
Instead of racing for five laps with a flying 200 qualifier being six-and-a-half, Stone and McGlynn suddenly had their team sprint 200 cut down to four-and-a-half laps with three of racing to look forward to.
Throughout all of that, though, Stone’s determination to succeed means she is leaving the velodrome with two medals.
“For some reason, I wasn’t too stressed,” Stone said.
“I was just taking it day by day, and I knew that the strengths I have on solo bikes lend themselves quite well to tandems. I’m quite strong, and I’m better on bigger gears – both of those are good to have in tandem.
“I really wanted to go and do well. Not in a spiteful way, but I was thinking that they didn’t take me on for the solo so I would be the best tandem rider they’d seen.
“It made it more special in a way – my Games weren’t exactly what I wanted them to be, but I still got the result that I wanted.”