Scottish star Shannon Archer wins historic gymnastics medal

Scottish star Shannon Archer wins historic gymnastics medal

All good things come and all that but even Shannon Archer admits a 44-year wait may have stretched patience just a little too far.

Artistic gymnastics made its Commonwealth Games debut in 1978 but a Scottish woman had never cracked the podium, Joanne Walker's bronze in 1994 was in the sport's rhythmic cousin.

There has been plenty of male success since Steve Frew's rings gold in Manchester two decades ago but nothing for the women - until now.

Archer, who turned 24 last week, finished fifth in her signature vault event four years ago on the Gold Coast and arrived here determined to finally get that upgrade.

She was the top qualifier into the eight woman final but was drawn to go last, pacing the floor like an expectant parent waiting for her turn on the stage.

Australia's Georgia Godwin had set the standard and Archer was left sweating after her first attempt picked up a penalty that left her just outside the medals. However, she held her nerve to nail the second vault, edging out Canada's Emma Spence to claim the final step on the podium.

"I can't explain how I feel right now," said Archer, who hails from Uphall in West Lothian.

"I knew it was possible but to actually achieve it... I can't quite believe it. I don't think it will sink in for a while.

"I looked up and saw the score and just started crying. There's been a lot of hard days in the gym but this makes it all worth it.

“It's hard to think a women's gymnast from Scotland has never medalled before. We all put a lot of hard work into this, it has paid off and I couldn’t be happier and this is for everyone on the team.

“There have been some mega gymnasts before me that have competed for Scotland, so to be up there, making history for the first medal, it just means the world.

"There has been a lot of pressure in the last few days. It was a very long wait to compete and that made me even more nervous.

"It's an amazing learning experience for me and I'm so proud of how I coped with it all. I just tried to focus on the actual vaults I had to do and try to zone out everything else.”

This summer, Team Scotland, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, comprises of over 400 athletes, all vying for medal success.

Archer was supported by her mum and gran at Arena Birmingham and big group of friends from home, while her sister took time off from working at the Games to watch her sibling make history, erasing Amy Regan's floor fourth at the 2010 Games in Delhi from the record books.

“I’ve got a little bit of downtime after this and then I’ll get back in the gym and I've got some stuff coming up at the end of the year, but I’ll have a much-needed rest," added Archer.

"This year I got myself back in the Great Britain squad as well, so that opens up more opportunities for me. I’ll just keep working and see where I end up.”

Four years ago Frank Baines won parallel bars bronze in Australia but he finished sixth in the men's floor final won by England's Jake Jarman, who now has three golds and counting for the Games.

Elsewhere, Scotland's Pavel Karnejenko also placed sixth in the men's rings competition, where England's Courtney Tulloch defended his title.

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