Belfast Telegraph

Jenna out to bounce back after Olympic nightmare

By Nigel Ringland

Jenna McCorkell takes to the world stage today for the first time since her Winter Olympics nightmare last month.

The Coleraine skater will participate in the short programme at the World Championships in Turin and insists she is over her performance in Vancouver — and is vowing to set the record straight over the next couple of days.

McCorkell (23) endured an Olympic debut to forget, falling heavily while attempting a triple lutz in her short programme, earning just 40.64 points and ensuring she failed to qualify for the long programme.

Her score was nearly 14 points down on her personal best and was a far cry from the form that saw her pick up consecutive top 10 finishes at the Europeans in 2008 and 2009.

In the immediate aftermath McCorkell, who is funded by Sport NI, was inconsolable.

“It was the worst skate I’d done in the last four years and I was just devastated,” she said.

“It was so hard to deal with but I have to learn from it — that is the way sport goes.

“I am not the only one to have had this happen to them but it didn’t stop it hurting.

“I am not done yet! I still have the worlds and will begin work this summer for four years time and the next Olympics.”

So while the seven-time British champion admitted it was a blow to her confidence, McCorkell is adamant she is ready to get straight back on the horse in Turin.

“The Olympics were a fantastic experience in one sense and yet disappointing in another,” she added.

“To not qualify for the free programme was the worst feeling, but I will have other challenges in my life.

“It's how you deal with and overcome them that is the important thing.

“My confidence was knocked but I am feeling physically much better so I just want to go to the worlds and try and improve on my scores and position from last season.”

Since Vancouver, McCorkell has been at home in Belgium with husband and international skater Kevin Van der Perren working hard on her routines with coach Yuri Bureiko and also fully recovering from a viral infection that had affected her preparations for the Olympics.

Practice has been going well and in a large field of 55 skaters, her first goal will be to make the top 24 and qualify for the free programme.

At last year's World Championships in Los Angeles, McCorkell collected 128.67 points for a best-ever finish of 20th, having ended up 21st, 24th, 22nd and 25th in her four previous appearances.

If she can finish inside the top 20 it would be a notable achievement and go a long way to restoring her self belief and confidence — and would consign that Olympic performance to the dustbin of history for good.

McCorkell will represent Great Britain along with Karly Robertson, while South Korea’s Kim Yu-Na — the Olympic gold medallist — is the defending champion.

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