GB's Thorpe & Shortman aim to 'carry on mums' legacy'

Kate Shortman and Izzy Thorpe
Kate Shortman and Izzy Thorpe won bronze at the 2023 European Games [Getty Images]

Artistic swimmers Izzy Thorpe and Kate Shortman hope to "carry on the legacy" of their mothers at the Paris Olympics this summer.

Thorpe's mum Karen competed alongside Shortman's mother, Maria, in the 1980s.

Thorpe, 23, and Shortman, 22, who won silver at this year's World Championships, were confirmed as Team GB's entrants for this summer's Olympics on Tuesday.

"Both our mums got us into the sport and coached us for a long time," Shortman told the BBC. "We are carrying on that legacy."

The pair, childhood friends and former schoolmates, will be competing at a second Olympics, having come 14th in Tokyo in 2021.

But, after a major rule change to the sport, Shortman and Thorpe go into the Games as contenders to win Britain a first Olympic medal in the sport formerly known as synchronised swimming.

Their silver in the technical duet in Doha meant they became the first Britons to win a duet medal at a World Championships and they followed that with bronze in the free duet later in the competition.

Earlier this month they won gold in an Olympic test event in the pool which will be used for the Paris Games.

"Hopefully we are on that winning streak and can keep it going," Shortman said.

"People look at us differently at a syncro competition now."

The sport's scoring system was overhauled last year, making it less subjective.

There are now two judging panels in place, looking at the elements of a routine and artistic impression, while the pairs declare the difficulty of their routine themselves prior to the swim.

"We have always been strong technically, with speed of rotations, thrusts coming out of the water and our height but it wasn't always appreciated because of biases in the sport," said Shortman, who considered quitting the sport prior to the change.

"You had to look a certain way, had to be really tall and quite slender. That is not our build. We are quite athletic, muscular and a bit shorter.

"It has eliminated a lot of bias in the sport and has meant we have drastically climbed the rankings."