With the Winter Olympics in Sochi just months away now Great Britain’s long-track speed skating set-up has built a partnership between the National Ice Skating Association, NISA, and the Dutch set-up.
Team GB has had success in the short-track speed skating in recent Olympics although the 400m long-track speed skating is unavailable in the UK.
The partnership is set to improve the chances for success in an event that the British athletes have found challenging to succeed in due to the facilities unavailable to them
The news comes after a year of positives leading up to the Sochi Winter games with many of the Team GB athletes challenging for medals at World Championships this year.
The Women’s curling team won gold at the World Championships in March and are expected to medal in Sochi.
The same applies to Shelley Rudman, the women’s skeleton World Champion and there are high hopes for short-track speed skater Elisa Christie who won gold in the 1500m event at the European Championships and gold at the 1000m event at the World Championships, the first Briton to do so.
Chef de mission, Mike Hay, has praised Team GB’s progress in the Winter Olympics and believes this could be Team GB’s best year.
“I think we’ve come along way since Vancouver in 2010,” Hay said. “We’re in a good position. We’ve got more strength in depth across more disciplines than we’ve ever had before.”
He continued to say how the success of the London Summer Olympics for Team GB has given the winter squad belief going into Sochi.
“That British athletes can win on a global stage has given our guys a lot of confidence,” he said.
The Winter Olympics for Team GB have always been challenging to succeed in because of the small facilities available to the athletes competing which makes this year’s success for the likes of Christie and Rudman that even more extraordinary.
The best ever tally of medals achieved at a Winter Olympics for Team GB was in fact in Russia, some 89 years ago back in 1924 with Team GB picking up four medals.
The expectation to beat that medal haul may be a daunting task, however with the investment gone into the events, the most recent being the partnership with the Dutch set-up in the long-track speed skating, confidence is high in Team GB’s camp heading into Sochi, which could prove to be another memorably Olympics for Team GB.