Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Ice-cool Coleraine figure skater Jenna is ready to sparkle

Olympic ideal: Jenna McCorkell goes into today's figure skating in Sochi full of confidence after her performance in the team event

JENNA McCorkell is in the form of her life as she bids for Olympic glory in Sochi today.

The Coleraine figure skater, British champion this season for a record 11th time, has shrugged off injury problems and last week produced a confident performance in the team event.

The 27-year-old made her Games bow in Vancouver in 2010 – finishing a disappointing 29th – after missing out on Turin 2006 through injury.

However Jenna banished those Winter Olympic memories with her display in the first ever team event to be held at the Games, scoring 50.09 for her short program.

Jenna begins her individual campaign with the short program this afternoon.

"I wasn't really ready four years ago but I've come here knowing my practices have been going very well and I feel more confident," she said.

"I knew I could do it in the team event and I'm over the moon to have skated like that. I got a little buzz after landing two early triples.

"I knew I could land them, I do them day in, day out in practice but you've got to do it at the right moment too.

"There is room to improve for the individual event and I was excited to go back to work in training but I can't wait to get out again.

"The two biggest elements are at the start. We've got to improve the spins and we can work on the technical side of things."

Jenna is confident she can advance from the short program to tomorrow's free skate.

"The experience has been fantastic so far. I've had so much support, it gives you such a lift. I've had a lot of cards," she said.

"I'm very happy that I finally really enjoyed an Olympic skate and hopefully there are two more performances like that to come."

Meanwhile, Flo Bell admitted she made a costly error as her first outing at the Winter Olympics ended earlier than expected – although she did beat top violinist Vanessa-Mae.

The Team Ireland skier, born in England but whose father Brian is from the Lurgan area, was competing in giant slalom, the first of her two events with the slalom to follow on Friday, but made a mistake on gate 12.

The 17-year-old was therefore unable to complete the giant slalom course – one of 15 to have did not finish by their name in an 89-strong field.

That ruled her out of taking to the Rosa Khutor slopes for the second of two scheduled runs as Slovenia's Tina Maze won her second gold of the Games.

The conditions weren't favourable, with heavy rain falling throughout, while her late start number of 75 didn't help either.

"I didn't follow the plan for this particular gate and was unable to make the next gate," she said.

"It is just a case of trying to stay strong. Practice has been going really well."

Vanessa-Mae, competing for Thailand, finished last.

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