Countdown to Sochi 2014: Winter sports week in review
British short track speed skating coach Stuart Horsepool determined to accentuate the positive after a difficult weekend in Kolomna
British short track speed skating coach Stuart Horsepool was determined to accentuate the positive after a difficult weekend in Kolomna.
The World Cup event doubled as the second and final Olympic qualifier and Horsepool’s best-laid plans didn’t all follow the desired script.
Both relays quartets failed to secure the top eight finish they needed to book a place in Sochi and star skater Elise Christie was hospitalised after a crash that Horsepool later said could have been career threatening.
However, she was bravely back on the ice 24 hours later to win bronze in her signature 1000m event.
Unofficial calculations suggest the British team have qualified three men’s and two women’s quota places at for Sochi.
But this will not be confirmed by the International Skating Union until next month, with team selections ratified by the British Olympic Association in January.
“The past two weeks have shown the extreme highs and lows of performance sport,” said Horsepool.
“Elise winning bronze was fantastic and the whole team is really proud of how she performed after that crash, where for a moment we thought her Olympic dream was over.
“From the results on individual races here, we will have qualified a number of individual quota places for Sochi and all but one of our medal opportunities for Sochi remain intact.
“It was always going to be a difficult task attempting to get a girl’s relay to the Olympics. It’s never been done before, but they’ve shown they have a great deal of potential and it’s exciting to think what the next four years up to Pyeongchang could bring for them.
“The men ended up with three of the top four teams in the world in their quarter-final; China, Korea and the Netherlands.
“We were within half a second of getting through. We were good, but not quite good enough on this occasion. They are obviously very disappointed.”
Christie was bloodied and bruised after her crash and admitted that changed her race tactics for the 1000m final – an event in which she ended last season ranked number one in the world.
“It hurt a lot on the start so I couldn’t get into position at the front like I normally do, so I was forced to skate differently and come from the back of the pack,” she said.
“I had to skate this way in all three rounds so to come away with a bronze, I’m really pleased with that.
“I want to thank all the medical staff and everyone that have helped me, especially Mike (Brownlow), he’s our physio, he did a great job to make sure I was able to race.”
Elsewhere, British luge slider Adam Rosen started his season in Lillehammer, ranking 20th in the Nations Cup, missing qualification for the World Cup race by just three places and two hundredths of a second.
There was no repeat of last year’s top 30 finish as Europa Cup champion Dave Ryding – from a difficult starting position of 50 – failed to qualify for the second run of the men’s World Cup slalom at Levi, Finland.
British ice dancers Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland placed seventh on their first outing of figure skating’s ISU Grand Prix series in Paris.
Coomes and Buckland, who has recently returned to action following heart surgery, are bidding to claim the British ice dance spot they secured for next year’s Olympics at the World Championships in March.
A finish of 13th earlier this year saw them earn a quota place and they placed seventh at the Trophee Eric Bompard in France, with an overall score of 128.59 points.
Elsewhere, Victoria Olaoye and Sarah Adams took third in the women’s bobsleigh in the opening races of the North America’s Cup series in Calgary, while Lamin Deen piloted GB to a solid sixth place in the four-man event.