Sochi 2014: Jenna McCorkell inspired by Matthew Parr's magic
Coleraine figure skater Jenna McCorkell, who starts her Olympic quest tomorrow, was a very interested spectator as Great Britain team-mate Matthew Parr made a special bit of history last night at the Iceberg Skating Palace in Sochi.
The 23-year-old Englishman was the first competitor to take to the ice for the inaugural Olympic figure skating team event and scored a personal best of 57.40.
No doubt the nerves were jangling, but Parr held his nerve and delivered under pressure.
"It was excellent. It couldn't have gone better for me," he said.
"My aim going out there was to get a season's best or a personal best and I achieved that, so I am very pleased. This is what I have been aiming to do since I was a kid.
"It was quite cathartic and in the end it was nice to finish with a performance I am proud of.
"To be an Olympian is everything I ever wanted so to finally say I've competed at the Olympic Games is a very proud moment and I will treasure forever."
Parr is the men's singles representative, with the British team also comprising McCorkell, David King, Stacey Kemp, Nick Buckland and Penny Coomes.
Unlike the others, however, four-times British champion Parr is only eligible to compete in the team event, and unless there is a major upset, his first Games experience was set to last the length of his short programme – around three minutes – and was over a day before the opening ceremony.
Parr said: "Obviously I would like to skate again. But I am proud of my performance."
Follwing on from Parr, pairs competitor Kemp suffered a heartbreaking fall.
Kemp – with partner and fiance King – fell during their routine, which led to a disappointing score of 44.70
McCorkell (27) is the record 11-time British figure skating champion but plans to hang up her skates at the end of this season.
"I'm very excited to get out to Sochi. I think it will be a fantastic event where all the world's best athletes compete," she said.
"It's very tough competition and I hope to have two great skates out there in the team event and individual."
McCorkell will skate her short programme in the team event tomorrow.