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Olympic star details desperate attempts to save partner’s life

Katie Archibald tried in vain to save the life of her partner, mountain bike champion Rab WardellOlympic star details desperate attempts to save partner’s life

Olympic star details desperate attempts to save partner’s life

Katie Archibald discussed the tragedy. © Ian MacNicol / Getty Images

Olympic star Katie Archibald has spoken of her frantic attempts to save the life of her partner, Scottish cyclist Rab Wardell, after he suffered cardiac arrest next to her in bed at the home the shared in Glasgow. 

Wardell, 37, died on Tuesday just two days removed from him placing first at the Scottish Cross Country Championship at Kirroughtree Forest, and after Archibald tried but failed to resuscitate him.

In an emotional social media post Archibald, 28, who is a two-time Olympian representing Team GB, wrote of her prolonged efforts to save Wardell’s life — but added that her heart ‘stopped’ when his did.

“I think you’ve heard that Rab died yesterday morning,” she wrote on Twitter this week.

“I still don’t understand what’s happened; if this is real; why he’d be taken now – so healthy and happy.

“He went into cardiac arrest while we were lying in bed. I tried and tried, and the paramedics arrived within minutes, but his heart stopped and they couldn’t bring him back.

“Mine stopped with it. I love him so much and need him here with me. I need him here so badly, but he’s gone. I can’t describe this pain.

“I can’t bear to talk about him in the past tense to say anything myself. You mean everything to me, Rab. I love you.”

Archibald, who won gold in each of the last two Olympics, is one of UK cycling’s most consistent performers, having claimed an impressive 17 gold medals in European elite track championships, as well as holding the best-ever British time in the women’s individual pursuit category.

Wardell’s passing was noted by several figures from within the cycling community.

Scottish cyclist Chris Hoy remarked that he was was “utterly heartbroken” by the news, while Callum Skinner, who was born in Glasgow, wrote: “Sorry to hear of the passing of another great Scottish cyclist. Some of my earliest memories in the sport featured a strong, witty personality who’d help anyone.”

Wardell’s passing came just hours after he took first place at the Scottish MTB XC Championships; a race in which he overcame three separate punctures to claim the win, after which he had commented on his performance to BBC Scotland.

“It was a bit of a disaster, but I just have to keep on trucking and keep racing,” he said of his performance. “I guess I still felt confident that I’d be able to catch the leaders and win so I just gave it my best shot.”

A statement from the Scottish Cross Country Association, meanwhile, noted Wardell’s tragic death.

“We are devastated to relay to you the tragic news that our friend, our Champion Rab Wardell, has died overnight,” they wrote. “He will be truly missed by our community and his determination, talent and friendship will live on in all our hearts and memories. RIP Rab. Our Champion, Our Inspiration, Our Friend.”

British Cycling also paid tribute to Wardell, writing of him: “Rab was a brilliant rider, friend and ambassador for our sport. Our thoughts are with his family and many friends.”


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