Cyclist Callum Skinner and wheelchair racer Samantha Kinghorn are aiming for success at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this summer.

But away from the track both have a taste for style.


When six-time Olympic champion Sir Chris Hoy retired from professional cycling last year, he left some pretty sizeable shoes to fill. Among those tipped as a potential successor is Callum Skinner.

The 21-year-old - who was born in Glasgow and grew up in Edinburgh - is part of the British Cycling Olympic Podium Programme. He spends his days whizzing round a banked velodrome track in Manchester at high speed.

What are you most looking forward to about Glasgow 2014?

The atmosphere. I went down to watch the 2012 Olympic Games in London and the guys who competed still regularly talk about how amazing the crowds were. Hopefully that's something we can replicate in Glasgow. That would be incredible.

What is your ultimate goal for this summer?

To get a medal. I will be hoping to compete in four events: sprint, team sprint, kilo and keirin. I have made the qualification times for all of them.

Biggest adversity you have overcome?

I had a bit of health scare in late 2011 with a misdiagnosis of lymphoma. Doctors in A&E found a massive lump on my neck and, due to my age, demographic and some of the early blood tests, it all pointed towards cancer.

I had been making huge strides in training but everything was put on hold. It was a difficult time for my family. It was only after a few biopsies that they discovered it wasn't lymphoma but even the surgeon said he would have put money on it being cancer.

Proudest moment or achievement?

Becoming British sprint champion in 2012. The lead-up to that had been a really hard year with the health issues. It's not the fastest I've ever gone but it was one of the best wins.

Any major injuries along the way?

I fractured my collarbone in the winter of 2012. It was during a charity race for the Braveheart Cycling Fund in Glasgow. I was lucky it was a clean break, I had surgery and was back training two days later. In an odd coincidence, my mother broke her collarbone in a cycling accident the week before.


Do the inevitable comparisons to Sir Chris Hoy create added nerves?

I have had trouble in the past with putting too much pressure on myself and not performing as a result. I've since learned that I do my best racing when I'm cool, calm and relaxed.

If I can manage not to feel the pressure surrounded by Olympic champions in Manchester every day then hopefully that should reduce the pressure when I'm trying, as you say, to fill Chris Hoy's shoes in Glasgow.

Biggest sacrifices?

I don't view it as being a sacrifice because this is what I want to do and I wouldn't change that.

I do regret missing out when my friend Kevin [Stewart, Scottish Cycling sprint coach] asked me to be one of the best men at his wedding and I had to say no because I had the U23 European Championships.

I try to make an effort as much as I can, though, because I believe it is important to have a life outside of cycling and keep those relationships going.

How would you describe your own style?

Eclectic. I like classic Oxford shirts. From the waist down it's always fairly limited because, having a sprinter's thighs, it's difficult to find anything that fits. When I was in Japan on holiday recently I was so delighted to find trousers that did fit I bought four pairs.

What is the most beloved item in your wardrobe?

I got a really nice Ralph Lauren shirt from my dad for Christmas. It's pastel pink.

Biggest fashion faux pas?

I had many teenage attempts to look cool but none of them came off. I was into the skater look for a bit and tried to dye my hair red a few times. I also had a horrendous beanie hat I would wear at all times.


Samantha Kinghorn was 14 when she was crushed by snow on her family's farm near the Berwickshire village of Gordon. Her back was broken and the teenager spent six months at the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow after being told she would never walk again.

But Kinghorn, now 18, has refused to let that life-changing moment define her. Last September she was among the first 27 athletes to be named for Team Scotland to compete at the Commonwealth Games.

Kinghorn, ranked among Europe's leading wheelchair racers, will contest the T54 1500m at Hampden Park.

When I think of the 2014 Commonwealth Games …

Every hair on my body stands up. It's a mixture of nerves and excitement.

What are you most looking forward to?

The opening ceremony at Celtic Park. Being part of the Scottish team in front of a home crowd will be amazing. I would like to get to the final in my event, which is the T54 1500m.

Biggest adversity you have overcome?

I broke my back in 2010. I was helping out on the farm when the accident happened. I was injured by compacted snow.

I knew straight away that my back was broken. I was transferred to the spinal unit in Glasgow where I spent the next six months.

At that stage, I didn't know what would happen. I did think then that perhaps I would be in a hospital bed for ever. I knew I wouldn't walk again.

When did you start considering a career in sport?

I've always loved sport. I did gymnastics up until I was 14. After my accident I went to watch the Inter Spinal Unit Games at Stoke Mandeville in 2011. It was there I began to realise there was a Paralympic pathway open to me.

I chose athletics because I loved the speed. I knew it would be hard work but I like a challenge. The minute I saw people competing in wheelchair racing I fell in love with it.

Biggest sacrifices along the way?

Parties with friends is probably the main thing, although I'm quite good at managing my time so that if there is an important event I'll work my training around it. I don't feel like I'm missing out. I feel I'm doing a lot more than I ever thought I would be.


Proudest moment or achievement?

The 2012 London Mini Marathon. There were people on the start line beside me who were even more disabled than I am. Everyone was so happy. No-one was sad. It made me believe that I was going to be OK too. I finished the race and won silver. I realised then I could be quite good at this.

Who are your own sporting heroes?

Growing up I loved Beth Tweddle because I was a gymnast too. Other than that, I didn't watch much sport on TV, I was much more of an outdoorsy kid. I never liked being stuck inside.

These days I look up to [US wheelchair racer] Tatyana McFadden. I would love to be able to push like her. She works so hard.

Biggest misconception about your sport?

How difficult it is. Wheelchair racing is a lot more technical than a lot of people realise.

How would you describe your own style?

Usually I'm training so mostly wear Lycra. I like Topshop and River Island. If I could buy anything it would be some really nice dresses. I'd go on a shopping trip to London and go crazy in the big stores.

What is the most beloved item in your wardrobe?

I have a real thing for wool. I love jumpers and have six to 10 favourites.

Biggest fashion faux pas?

When I was younger I had no fashion sense. Starting high school I was a real tomboy and wanted to wear my brother's trousers.

I did try to wear high heels but they were the kind with a massive point on the end which made my feet look 20 sizes too big. What was I thinking?