Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Sochi 2014: Jenna McCorkell aiming to eclipse Games best

Glory bid: Jenna McCorkell begins Winter Olympics quest today

Jenna McCorkell gets a golden opportunity today to prepare for the biggest moment of her life.

 

The 27-year-old from Coleraine skates for the first time in the team event at the Iceberg Skating Palace in Sochi.

But with the Great Britain team already out of contention for a medal, it is the perfect chance for Jenna to fine-tune her performance ahead of her bid for individual glory which begins on February 19.

The team event started on Thursday but record 11-time British champion Jenna has yet to take to the ice.

"Now we are out here and we know a little bit more about it, understand how it works, the draw, how it is going to be, it is very exciting," she said, looking ahead to next week.

"I have to skate my short programme like I would in practice every day, so I am not thinking too much outside the box, just keeping myself focused for how I would prepare for any competition.

"If I could be in the top 15, I would consider it a success. I have been in the top 15 in the world already a couple of times," said Jenna ahead of what will be her second Olympics after finishing 29th in Vancouver four years ago.

That followed the heartbreak of missing Turin 2006 through injury.

"Vancouver was an amazing experience and I learned a lot from being there.

"Perhaps I made it too big a deal last time. I think the way to do it is just to treat the Olympics like any other competition. No matter what competition you are in, you are still skating the same programme.

"I'm not looking too closely at placings and results – I will just be focusing on my own performance.

"You could produce your best and not be placed as highly as you'd hoped, or not skate so well but be placed higher than expected. A lot depends on the other competitors.

"I will do my best and after that it's up to the judges," she added.

McCorkell, who has been skating for two decades, will retire after next month's World Championships in Japan.

"It will be nice to lead a normal life," she said.

"But I will still be involved in the sport, through coaching and doing shows.

"The fact that the Olympics are this season certainly influenced my decision – if they were, say, a year later I would probably have put off my retirement.

"It's hard to believe I've been competing for so long."

Meanwhile, Bangor's Aimee Fuller has her last chance tomorrow to make it through to the final of the slopestyle at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.

The 22-year-old was 10th in Thursday's opening exchanges, with a top four placing required to guarantee a place in the final.

"We'll see what happens. I was a little disappointed," she said.

Fuller has been making the most of the Sochi experience.

She attended yesterday's lavish opening ceremony and also met Princess Anne.

Alpine skier Flo Bell, whose father Brian hails from Tandragee, is part of the Ireland team and will compete on Tuesday week.

The 17-year-old from Birmingham said: "It's all very exciting. Competing in the Games will be a great experience."

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