Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Flo Bell sounds out realistic goals for her Games debut

Sibling rivalry: Flo Bell beat her sister to qualify for Sochi

Flo Bell has vowed not to get caught up with the scale of the Winter Olympics as she makes her debut at Sochi 2014 – focusing on her current rivals, not future ones.

Bell, whose family background is in Lurgan, is part of a five-strong Irish team at the Games and one of two chosen for today's alpine skiing.

That comes in the form of the giant slalom with the slalom at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre following three days later on February 21 completing the 17-year-old's schedule.

And rather than bid to rival the likes of Anna Fenninger and Mikaela Shiffrin, favourites for the giant slalom and slalom respectively, Bell is looking a little more realistically at the field.

"I'm just going to try and do my best. There are some people from small nations that are going to be here that I've raced against before," said Bell.

"Those people around me, they are the ones that I should be beating. This Games is just experience and I hope I have more Olympics to come in the future.

"I'm young, so I hope that can be the case. For me this about getting experience. I'm not in contention for a medal I don't think.

"It is going to be a wonderful experience. It's my Olympic debut so it's everything – competing, the atmosphere and the environment."

It could have so easily been different for Bell as she actually qualifies for Britain – her dad left Northern Ireland to study in England and the family live in Birmingham – but Flo declared for Ireland.

To add to the family twist, Bell was chosen ahead of sister Victoria – who put the thought of declaring for Ireland in her head – for the nation's sole women's alpine skiing place.

But Florence insists there is no ill feeling between the two – indeed, her parents and Victoria are in Sochi to lend their support.

"People always say 'that must have been really hard' but it was fine. We're best friends," she added.

"We train together all the time. When it came down to it, she was really upset. But she's really happy for me."

Meanwhile, Great Britain's women's curling team progressed to the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics semi-finals yesterday as they concluded their round-robin campaign with victory over Russia and then defeat to Denmark.

Eve Muirhead's world champion rink of Scots beat the Russians 9-6, before losing to Denmark 8-7.

Ending up fourth in the round-robin rankings, GB will meet unbeaten Canada in the semi-final.

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