Sophie Unwin mistake
England's Sophie Unwin (l) and Georgia Holt have been deprived of bronze medals after a mix-up. Image by AP PHOTO
  • cycling

Tears for cyclist deprived of bronze medal

Ian Chadband July 30, 2022

England para-cyclist Sophie Unwin has been left in tears at the Commonwealth Games after a medal mix-up meant she won’t get a bronze medal for finishing third in the women’s tandem B sprint.

While Australian Jess Gallagher celebrated her victory with tandem pilot Caitlin Ward on Friday, all the sympathy went with Unwin, left bereft after being piloted by Georgia Holt to a victory over Scotland she thought had earned her a medal.

Five teams had originally entered the event but only four started, which meant under the rules only gold and silver medals could be awarded.

This clearly wasn’t communicated to Unwin, or anyone else in the Lee Valley VeloPark, with the race being signalled as a bronze medal race on the official event website.

Unwin and Holt, who’ve won a world title before, were told to cut short their post-race interviews to go to the podium, but then emerged in tears after finding out they weren’t eligible to receive a medal.

As Gallagher and Scotland’s silver medallist Aileen McGlynn made their way to the podium, Unwin and Holt stood behind it draped in an England flag before being asked to move by a member of the security staff.

The riders later reappeared and did climb onto the podium with what were said to be borrowed medals so they could pose for photographs, making the situation seemingly even more unfair.

Team England have argued the decision goes against the goal of greater inclusion in the Games.

Matt Glaetzer, Australia’s gold medallist in the men’s team sprint, was among many who felt sympathy for Unwin.

“If you’ve come third, you’d like to receive a bronze medal for sure,” said Glaetzer. 

“It’s just one of those strange situations in sport – there’s something unexpected around the corner.”

With PA