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OSS ambassador Kathleen Dawson’s star continues to rise with recognition as ‘Sportswoman of the Year’ at the 2021 Scottish Women in Sport awards dinner.

Nominated alongside fellow Scottish sports stars Laura Muir and Katie Archibald, Kathleen was announced the winner at the annual dinner in Glasgow. The 24-year-old has had an outstanding year in 2021, picking up records and titles at both Europeans and Olympics, whilst also dealing with a significant back injury.

“It was a great honour to win the award,” she said, “and I was just so excited to be nominated alongside such fantastic Scottish sports stars. Katie and Laura have both had phenomenal years and I can’t quite believe that I’m being viewed in the same category as them, but it has been a special year. And there are other fantastic athletes who have had tremendous achievements this year not on the shortlist which I think shows the quality that exists in Scottish women’s sport right now. I hope that helps to inspire girls and women of all ages to believe in themselves and to get involved.”

Upon her return from glory, she jumped right into the OSS’ new ambassador group, and has gotten involved in discussions around community sport, and even visited the Street 45, women only group, at our research partner Street Soccer Scotlands new facility in Dundee. The players got the opportunity to talk to Kathleen about all of her recent successes, and all about her journey of ups and downs on her path to becoming Olympic champion.

Although an elite swimmer, Dawson feels strongly about Community Sport and is extremely disappointed in the decrease and reductions we’ve seen in recent years, and wants to be involved in making important changes the OSS is striving to make.

On her own journey to Olympic champion, she said: “There have been lots of ups and downs in the past few years, battling through injuries, the uncertainty around events, and what people don’t see is the work that goes in behind the scenes and the difficulties you face sometimes just to keep going, particularly during the Covid pandemic, which changed everything. The challenges can often be more mental than physical, and you can sometimes question if you can achieve what you want to.
“I was delighted to get back into the pool, and just be able to swim, and everything just seemed to get better and better from there and ended with a gold medal in Tokyo, which was unbelievable. It’s amazing to be here with two other outstanding Scottish athletes, and I hope that together we can inspire the younger generations to get involved in sport in any way.”
She added: “The key for me is simply to enjoy your sport – have a go at sport, keep going when it’s not so easy, and see where it takes you. This year has been fantastic for me, but as much as achieving an Olympic gold medal the excitement, fun, friendships and knowing I’ve achieved something special is what fills the memories and makes me happy.”