Finn Russell Top 50 Scottish sporting stars of decade – 30-21

Finn Russell This is one astonishing extension!

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Watch: A decade of Scottish sporting success

This feature started as a tweet late at night, a request for people to suggest their top-five sporting Scots of the decade. The responses came in a blur.

Days after the original question was posed they were still coming. Name after name, sport after sport. A top five became a top 20 and then a top 50.

Asking for nominations was the easy part. Going through them all, registering each suggestion and then adding to the master list proved challenging. There have been about 150 different versions of our top 50. A rower moved up a place, a footballer moved down a place, a person coming in from left field to replace somebody who was in and then was out. All the time, the mind was driven that bit closer to distraction.

How do you construct a top 50 of the greatest sporting Scots of the decade? With great difficulty, as it turns out. It’s tough enough to figure out the chosen ones, but then to rank them in order from 50-1 is a task that tens of thousands of people might try but one that would surely produce tens of thousands of different outcomes. I

It’s fun, though. There’s no right way or wrong way of doing this. If sport resulted in everybody agreeing with each other then what a dull world it would be.

  • Top 50 Scottish sporting stars of decade – 50-41
  • Top 50 Scottish sporting stars of decade – 40-31

There are people on this list – not many, but some – who have won precious little in their careers but whose world-class talent demands that they be included. But where? How do you look on somebody whose star shone briefly in the decade but incredibly brightly? How do you rank somebody who excelled for years but in a sport where the competition wasn’t as hot as other sports? Weighting achievement across the sports is no easy business.

Is longevity a pre-requisite or should there be a place for one-off brilliance? Where do you place an athlete with World Championship gold medals compared to one with Olympic silver? How many footballers deserve – truly deserve – to make it? What those those compete wonderfully but in sports with little following? How do we look on Para-sportsmen and sportswomen and their place in the overall scheme?

There were any amount of real puzzlers. Numerous times there was gridlock when trying to separate two people from the same sport with similar achievements. In that case, advice from an expert from that sport was sought. Normally, it went something like this: “I’d pick X ahead of Y and here are the reasons, but don’t quote me!”

The final list, then. Fifty names from 25 different sports. You may disagree with much of it, but consensus on this kind of thing is always overrated.

30. Katherine Grainger

The double sculls rower had been knocking on the door of Olympic gold for longest time until finally it arrived at London 2012. Silver in Sydney in 2000, silver in Athens in 2004, silver again in Beijing in 2008, Grainger refused to give up on her dream of finally standing on top of the podium. Had the Olympics been anywhere other than London that summer you wonder if she would have had the heart to commit and go again for a fourth time, but she did and, along her partner Anna Watkin, she dominated practically every race

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