Get ready for a gold rush. Or, at the very least, a medal rush.

That’s the view of Steve Cram when considering what 2024 could look like for Scotland’s current crop of world-class runners.

While Cram may not be psychic, it can’t be disputed that he knows what he’s talking about.

The Englishman is a former world champion and world record holder who has been involved in elite-level track and field firstly as an athlete and currently as a television presenter and commentator for over forty years.

His experience gives Cram, and his opinions, an authority few possess, which is why he’s worth listening to when he’s making predictions about Scotland’s potential medal haul at both this weekend’s World Indoor Championships and at this summer’s Olympic Games.

“This weekend, I think we’ll certainly be looking at some Scottish medals – potentially three and at least two of them could very well be gold,” Cram says.

“And at the Olympics, there’s similar very, very good medal chances.

“As a British team, if we ever win more than six medals in track and field at the Olympics, we’re doing very well and so if Scotland come home from Paris with three Olympic medals in track and field, that’d be pretty good.

“When you’ve got four or five real world-class athletes as Scotland has, that’s absolutely a possibility and there’s no reason why that couldn’t be the number of Olympic medals heading back here.”

It’s little surprise Cram is feeling so optimistic when looking at things from a Scottish point of view.

In the shape of, in particular, Laura Muir, Josh Kerr and Jake Wightman, we have three athletes who have, over the past few years, consistently returned home from major athletics’ championships with medals. 

In Wightman and Kerr’s case, they both replicated Cram’s 1983 achievement of becoming world 1500m champion, with the Scots winning gold in 2022 and 2023 respectively.

The Herald:

Cram is currently in Glasgow, commentating on the World Indoor Championships, and has spent much of the week north of the border having also appeared as a guest speaker for one of scottishathletics’ longest-standing partners and sponsors, Lindsays.

The Englishman fully expects his predicted Scottish medal haul to begin racking up over the coming hours and he’ll be trackside for the 3000m finals of Muir and Kerr this weekend, while he’ll also be keeping a close eye on Jemma Reekie, who finished fourth at the 2021 Olympics and is the second fastest 800m runner in the world so far this year.

With the trio all having had a strong start to 2024, Cram is certain that their form will yield some silverware by the end of these World Indoor Championships.

“Laura’s looking good and seems in a really good place.

“The women’s 3000m in Glasgow isn’t going to be easy to win but I fully expect Laura to be there or there abouts. I expect her to be in the medals but it’s whether or not she can win is the question. Maybe being in front of the home crowd will be the thing that tips it in her balance,” the 63-year-old says.

“As for Josh, he wouldn’t be running if he wasn’t looking to win it – I don’t think he’s interested in just picking up medals so it’s great that he thinks he can get gold.

“And Jemma is running very well. What’s been so nice to see is that her smile is back – for a while, that disappeared and she looked a bit stressed.

“I think she’s definitely capable of winning a medal in Glasgow but what’s interesting is the question of is she running for a medal, or is she running to win it?

“If you’re trying solely to win it, you can overcommit.

“But I think her coach, Jon Bigg, and Jemma herself will get the strategy right and I’ll be very surprised if she doesn’t at least win a medal.”


For all of Scotland’s contingent, however, while this weekend’s World Indoors are indisputably important, the major focus of this year is this summer’s Olympic Games, which are now less than five months away.

Across all track and field disciplines, the men’s 1500m is shaping up to be both one of the most competitive and one of the most intriguing events down, in no small part, to the competitive and personal rivalry that’s developing between reigning Olympic champion, Jakob Ingebrigtsen, and Kerr.

That Kerr beat Ingebrigsten to gold at last year’s World Championships, following on from Wightman’s World Championship win in almost identical style over Ingebrigtsen the previous year, is where the competitive rivalry originates.

But it’s the personal rivalry that’s added an extra edge.

Ingebrigtsen has, since Kerr’s World Championship victory last August, indulged in no little trash talking towards the Scot.

In the aftermath of Kerr's breaking of the world 2-mile record earlier this month, the Norwegian claimed he could beat Kerr’s new world record blindfolded. “I would have beaten him in that race, blindfolded,” boasted Ingebrigsten.

Kerr has made it patently clear he’s not overly impressed with what he sees as numerous examples of blatant disrespect from his rival and Cram, who was involved in a good few mind games of his own when he was regularly racing the likes of Seb Coe and Steve Ovett, acknowledges the excitement generated by said trash talking is never a bad thing.

But he believes the biggest danger for Kerr, and the rest, at the Olympic Games this summer is if they find themselves drawn into these mind games too much.

“I love Jakob (Ingebrigtsen), he’s a very funny guy. You do have to remember that when someone’s trying to be humerous in another language, it doesn’t always translate exactly,” says Cram of the Norwegian.

“But, having said that, he knows what he’s doing. He knows that anything he says is going to get picked up and I never object to anyone playing a few mind games - we used to do it in our day too and it’s good fun.

“What I think it would really translate as, is him saying that, nine times out of ten, when he’s at his best, he’ll beat the others – that’s how he thinks. He knows he’s good enough.

“When Ingebrigtsen lines up, there’s five or six other guys who, individually, need to have their single best day. Whereas Ingebrigtsen needs to beat all of them – he’s trying to beat the field whereas everyone else is trying to beat one guy in Ingebrigtsen.

“So if Ingebrigtsen is a tiny bit off, one of those other guys whether it’s Josh Kerr or Jake Wightman or whoever, is going to pop out and beat him sometimes. 

“He’s trying to goad people and that’s where the real danger lies for the other guys is that they get dragged into playing his games. You can put people off their stride by knocking them off their rhythm and affecting how they race. As soon as you try to be too aggressive in races, it’s not going to go well – the 1500m is a game of patience and a game of chess and you’ve got to make the right moves at the right time. 

“So, in the summer, the danger is that if Ingebrigtsen isn’t doing what he normally does, then the guys suddenly think shoot, we’ve not thought about other scenarios as much and they’re less sure what to do.”

Cram can identify particularly closely with Kerr in that in Cram’s case in 1984 and in Kerr’s case this year, the pair respectively went to and will go into the Olympic Games as world champion. Such standing brings with it considerable pressure but Cram believes that rather than being a negative, having such lofty status is a considerable positive for Kerr.

“It’s probably very different now compared to my day but there are still some similarities,” says Cram, comparing himself to the Scot.

The Herald: Cram is in Glasgow this weekendCram is in Glasgow this weekend (Image: Lindsays)

“Just as Josh is this year as world champ, I was pre-selected for the Olympics so that’s a massive thing because it means he’ll not be stressing about just getting into the team at a time when it’s quite difficult to even make the British 1500m team,” he says.

“And in terms of expectation, it is there but all athletes aspire to be the best they can be and so if you don’t like the fact that brings attention, you probably shouldn’t be doing it.

“As their careers develop and they get more successful, athletes learn how to deal better with pressure and expectation but I know that, in my case, the person who had the highest expectations of me, was me. And that’ll be the same for Josh – he’ll have very high expectations for himself this year after what happened in 2023 and so as long as he can manage all the other stuff like the media commitments and the demands from sponsors, I’m sure he’ll be fine.”

While much of the spotlight is trained upon Kerr and Ingebrigtsen, only a fool would discount Wightman entirely.

The Edinburgh runner, who won the world title in 2022, had the misfortune of missing out on almost the entirety of 2023 through injury but having made his competitive comeback in solid if not spectacular fashion earlier this month, Cram is reluctant to write-off the 29-year-old and maintains Wightman could most certainly be fighting for medals in Paris alongside Kerr.

“Jake’s worked really hard to get back to where he has,” he says.

“When you’ve been out for a long time, the hardest thing is to get that last five percent back. You can get to 95 percent ok so you just need to be patient to get that last few percent.

“He knows it’s not going to be easy to even make the Olympic team but the thing for Jake now is to not panic.

“Jake is a great racer though and so I have every faith he can be in there with the Scots who’ll be challenging at the Olympics this summer.”

Within just a few months, we'll know quite how prescient Cram really is.