Scott: I want to be remembered for more than doping protest
DUNCAN SCOTT may have added significantly to his medal haul during the course of 2019, but his actions out of the pool caused just as many headlines as his silverware.
It would though, says Scott, be “gutting” if, come the end of his career, he is remembered more for his exploits out of the water than in.
In July, at the World Championships in South Korea, Scott won bronze in the 200m freestyle behind gold medallist, Sun Yang.
During the medal ceremony. Scott, who will compete in the European Short-Course Championships which begin in Glasgow on Wednesday, refused to pose for photographs or shake hands with the Chinese swimmer, who served a three-month doping suspension in 2014, as well as being in the midst of an anti-doping case in which he smashed up vials of blood during an out-of-competition test last year before claiming his testers were not able to provide identification, which led to his actions.
It was a brave move from Scott, and an admirable one, with the majority of his fellow swimmers supporting his protest.
But the 22-year-old admits that for all the plaudits he received for his move, his actions rarely cross his mind. And he reveals that come the end of his career, if his achievements in the pool do not overshadow his doping protest this summer, he will be hugely disappointed.
“I would like to think that, from what I have achieved so far, there are particular highlights that outweigh what happened on the podium,” Scott says of his South Korean exploits.
“I am only 22 – if that is the thing that defines my career, I would be gutted. I don’t think it is, though, and I’d like to think that, if I retired today, there would be many things that are spoken about other than just that moment.
“It might have helped other things within the sport, but I would like to think that many of the things I have done override it.”
There was the threat of repercussions for Scott from the sport’s governing body, FINA, for his World Championship protest however nothing materialised, but there was considerable abuse directed at him during the Championships, where he went on to win gold in the 4x100m medley relay.
Scott admits it is impossible for him to know whether his protest has had any impact higher up the chain of command in the sport and while his primary focus is becoming the best swimmer he can possibly be, he is becoming more and more aware of the platform he has to influence the next generation of swimmers coming through.
“I have tunnel vision in terms of what I want to achieve in the sport and it has taken me a couple of years to realise the impact I can have on others,” the University of Stirling swimmer said.
“It is probably something I have shied away from, but I have realised I can help the next generation. If I like it or not, I can inspire other athletes through what I have done.”
Scott is in excellent form ahead of next week’s European Championships. Last weekend, he competed in his first International Swimming League (ISL) meet, winning the 200m individual medley. His next appearance in the ISL is due to be in Las Vegas early next year and as part of the London Roar team, he is team-mates with Olympic champion, Adam Peaty.
The Englishman has dominated the breaststroke sprints in recent years and Scott admits seeing someone of his class up close, and knowing he’s a clean athlete, gives him confidence that whatever substance his opponents may be taking, they can still be beaten.
“Look at Peaty. The guy is a machine. And I know for a fact he has never taken anything,” said Scott.
“The privilege of training with the athletes I do is that it [doping] is out of our minds. Our job is to make ourselves as good as possible, so that becomes irrelevant – because we are better than them anyway.”