Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Jenna McCorkell's Olympic agony

Oh so close: Jenna McCorkell agonisingly misses out on advancing to the free skate yesterday in Sochi

Jenna McCorkell managed to put a brave face on her Olympic heartbreak last night, the Coleraine figure skater agonisingly missing out on today's free skate in Sochi by one place.

The 27-year-old was in 24th place at the Iceberg Skating Palace with one competitor still to skate – Japan's Mao Asada – the top 24 going through.

And just like four years ago in Vancouver, the Winter Olympics served up a big slice of heartache, Jenna watching in disbelief as her dreams slipped away, the final skater scoring 55.51.

In Vancouver, she fell during the short program routine, finishing 29th and missing out on the free skate.

Jenna – who will retire after next month's world championships in Saitama, Japan – thought she had banished those memories with a season's best 50.09 in the short program in the first ever Winter Olympic figure skating team event last week.

But Jenna was slightly down on that score yesterday, earning 48.34, just 0.22 outside the cut.

"I skated the best I could and I'm not disappointed. I'm pretty pleased," said Jenna, who recently won a record 11th British title.

"I didn't land my triple toe loop as perfectly as I could have but all the elements were there and I did my best.

"I'm happy with how I've done, whatever happened, whether I made it through to the free skate or not. I did my job – everything else was out of my control.

"I've proved twice that that cloud of Vancouver can go away and leave me alone now. It has been hanging over me and playing on my mind a little bit.

"Having the team event allowed me to settle my nerves and proved that I could cope under the pressure of the Olympics.

"But that little cloud came back again in the morning (of the short program) and it took a bit of work to push it away again."

At the end of yesterday's routine she blew kisses to her 10-month-old nephew Jake, who was watching with her family back in Northern Ireland.

"The wait (11 days) between this skate and the team event has been so tough. My practices have been great but the waiting has been so difficult.

"I went to watch the short track speed skating and the excitement was so great, I realised it took too much out of me.

"I want to have a few days off and then I'm heading to Northern Ireland to see my family and then it's back to training."

Defending Olympic champion Kim Yu Na, of South Korea, came first with a score of 74.92.

Meanwhile, David Murdoch's curling team reached tomorrow's final – where they will face Canada – with a nail-biting 6-5 win over Sweden, guaranteeing Team GB their best medal haul at a Winter Olympics since 1936.

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