An evening with Dr Scott Gardner
Our webinar with Scott Gardner (Dr Scott Gardner to you – Ed.) was positioned as “three blokes in a pub chatting about cycling and other stuff”. Only we weren't in a pub, and Scott was 11,000 miles away in Tasmania, where it was 04:00 in the morning! Thank heavens for Zoom….
In what was, as expected, a “full and frank” discussion, Scott gave us a glimpse into the life of a sports scientist. One blooded by the Australian Cycling team in Athens 2004, only to tapped-up on the terraces of the Olympic velodrome and poached by British Cycling ahead of the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
In his time with BC, Scott worked with Chris Hoy, picking him up after the kilo was discarded from the Olympic programme and developing him into the Olympic sprint superstar we all recognise. He developed "coaching processes" along the way, working with a handpicked team of specialists, selected and moulded by Dave Brailsford. There were a couple of comments that raised eyebrows and you sensed that, with a few beers, there was more to tell!
Stints with the GB swimming squad and GB canoeing bookended a further session with BC, working towards the hugely successful London Olympics in 2012 before Scott stepped off the Olympic treadmill. Life after GB sport appears, at least on the surface, to be more sedate: a cherry farm and pitch and putt course in St Helens, Tasmania. But Scott hasn’t turned his back on coaching. He’s currently contracted to Malaysian Cycling who have an outside chance of a podium finish for his talented athletes including Aziz Awang.
As expected, the nature versus nurture debate was tabled and there was recognition that investment is all when it comes to the medal table. Big finance is obviously a big contributor to athletic success, although Scott we keen to point out that coaches didn't benefit financially from an athlete's success, well not in his day!
It was fascinating to hear that Scott would love to apply some of his learnings to the world of soccer; undoubtedly the world's wealthiest sport but somewhat behind the curve, in terms of coaching!
Alongside his work with the Malaysian Cycling squad, Scott is channelling his efforts into a coaching consultancy, Track Record which aims to support individuals and teams in the world of business. I don't think we've heard the last of Scott Gardner – he certainly isn’t about to retire to run a cherry farm! Our early morning / early evening chat could certainly have gone on for longer, it's a shame it didn't!
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