Belfast Telegraph

Jenna McCorkell set to hang up skates in style

By Frank Brownlow

Jenna McCorkell will round off her glittering career in a blaze of glory after being named yesterday in the Great Britain team for the Winter Olympics.

McCorkell, who this month clinched a record 11th British title, will take part in both individual and team figure skating events in Sochi.

The 27-year-old Coleraine skater will retire at the end of the season after two decades in the sport – and what a way to sign off.

McCorkell competes in the European Championships in Hungary next month ahead of the Winter Olympics in February before calling it a day at the World Championships in Japan in March.

"It's going to be a very busy few months," said McCorkell.

"I will approach the Sochi Games differently than the Winter Olympics in Vancouver four years ago.

"I was in Vancouver for the full duration of the Games, about three weeks in all, and it was just a bit too much, very draining.

"This time around some of the team might go to Moscow to train for a few days while the Games are going on.

"The team event is at the start of the Games and the individual event towards the end, so there may be the possibility of heading off halfway through.

"But it will depend on how much practice time we have been allocated on the ice. In Vancouver it was very limited.

"Vancouver was an amazing experience and I learned a lot from it, but I will take a different approach this time.

"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 in the Olympics – 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, part of the national squad for 17 years, says she is looking forward to hanging up her skates.

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

"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.

"It was great to win another British title – and I did it with one of my best ever skates. So hopefully I can keep improving and produce my best in the months ahead.

"I'm really looking forward to the three big events."

And with three major competitions still to squeeze in, McCorkell admits it will be business as usual right through Christmas.

She explained: "I will be in Germany, Belgium and Scotland for training and shows over the next week or so but I will be back home over Christmas for a few days, although I will still be training, at the Dundonald Icebowl."

Then it's Hungary, Russia and Japan for the three biggest events in her sport.

Jenna McCorkell is signing off in style.

Belfast Telegraph

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