Five athletes secure their Olympic spot on the ice
Team GB has added another five members to the squad heading out to PyeongChang, South Korea in February for the Olympic Winter Games 2018. After a successful winter season so far, our next set of Olympic medal hopefuls have been announced to represent Team GB in short track speed skating.
The addition of Elise Christie (500m, 1000m, 1500m), Charlotte Gilmartin (500m, 1000m, 1500m), Kathryn Thomson (500m, 1000m, 1500m), Farrell Treacy (1000m) and Joshua Cheetham (1000m), takes Team GB to 17 athletes, adding to the team announcements from curling and figure skatingearlier this year.
The team is led by triple World Champion, Elise Christie, who became the world record holder over 500m last year, and has also picked up 10 European titles during her career. She was also recently crowned Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year 2017 and nominated for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year. The 27 year old star from Livingston in Scotland is one of Great Britain’s biggest hopes for a medal position at the PyeongChang 2018 Games, as she competes in three disciplines alongside team mates Charlotte Gilmartin and Kathryn Thomson.
Returning for her third Olympic Winter Games, Elise Christie said of her selection for PyeongChang 2018: “It’s been a great end to the World Cup season for me and a relief after a tough season with injuries. I can’t wait to get back out to Korea and compete again at the stadium in front of the crowds there who are amazing, and I’m really looking forward to being part of Team GB again after four years.”
Charlotte Gilmartin returns to the team who competed at Sochi 2014, alongside Elise Christie. She has picked up European and World Cup medals over the last year, and has seen a significant improvement in her performances each year since the last Olympic Winter Games.
Thomson, Cheetham and Treacy will all make their Olympic debuts in South Korea in February, after a making a name for themselves in the sport so far this season with a series of impressive results for the next generation of short track speed skaters.
Joshua Cheetham said of his Olympic announcement: “It feels surreal, I’ve wanted this from such a young age, and I’ll be doing it for myself, my family as well as Great Britain. I feel a lot of pride, and responsibility to do my best and enjoy it. Short track is the biggest sport in Korea, and they have such enthusiasm for it so I’m looking forward to seeing how they present it to the world.”
After securing their spot at PyeongChang 2018, the team of five are now preparing to head out to Korea to go for gold for Team GB. Stewart Laing, Short Track Team Leader said: “We have a really great group of athletes who have performed well this season to be selected for PyeongChang. We have a mix of experience through Elise and Charlotte who have been to Olympic Games previously, and first time Olympians in Kathryn, Josh and Farrell.
“We’re extremely excited to be fielding our women in all events, which demonstrates the strength of our female programme, and anticipate that the boys will be able to gain as much experience as possible with the aim of medalling in Beijing 2022.
“This team announcement is an accumulation of multiple years’ worth of work put in by the athletes and the coaches. We look forward to finishing our training preparations at the National Ice Centre in Nottingham before heading out to Seoul for our pre Games preparation.”
PyeongChang 2018 will see around 3,000 athletes from around 95 nations competing for 102 gold medals, with Team GB expecting to take their biggest team yet with around 60 athletes, compared to 56 athletes at Sochi 2014. Chef de Mission Mike Hay said: “Short track is going to be one the showpiece events at PyeongChang 2018, played out in a country with a huge passion for the sport. For our five athletes, competing in South Korea in February will be an incredible experience and just reward for their efforts to qualify and be selected to Team GB for the Olympic Winter Games.
“The team is a great mix of talent, experience and debutants and I’m sure the nation will be getting behind them as they bid to take on the world’s best next year.”
PyeongChang 2018 is set to be the most successful Olympic Winter Games yet for Team GB, who over the years have won 26 medals; 10 gold, 4 silver and 12 bronze, which places them 19th on the all-time Olympic Winter Games medal table.
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