Jon Eley’s Road to Sochi
January 27, 2014 08:00 am
Going into this season I always knew it was going to be special, but I also knew it was going to be very tough to achieve my goals. Our pre-season preparation was longer and harder than normal, but as a team we knew we needed to be prepared to push ourselves harder than ever if we wanted to be successful.
The summer saw us head out to Dresden in Germany for two separate training camps. Here we were able to get away from the distractions of home life and be fully focused on training. The ice conditions at the rink in Dresden are extremely good and it gives us all a lot of confidence when we are able to skate fast times in training here.
With this being the Olympic season (and fingers crossed a very successful one!) we had anticipated a big increase in media attention around the team in the run up to Sochi. Because of this the British Olympic Association kindly sent out a media team to join us in Germany for a few days of media training. This was not only very useful for the team but also an extremely fun couple of days!
As the World Cup season got under way, there were mixed feeling of excitement and nervousness. I'm not the biggest fan of training, so after a long pre-season I could not wait to get back racing. As alway there was that feeling of uncertainty going in to the first World Cup of the season of whether I would ready and how good other skaters were going to be this year.
My season so far has been far from perfect. My skating has definitely been getting better and better with each competition, but after last year's struggle for form it has taken time for my confidence and belief to build along the way. Winning a medal in the relay out in Korea at World Cup 2 was a great achievement for myself and the team, and also a welcome boost going in to the Olympic Qualifiers at World Cup 3 and 4.
Sadly we were unable to emulate this performance at the Olympic Qualifiers. As a relay we probably produced one of our worst results of the past four years and as a result we failed to qualify a men's relay team for the Olympics. This was a massive disappointment for us because we believed, and still do, that we could have contended for a relay medal.
The big highlight for the team at these World Cups was the performance of my teammate Elise Christie. On the last day of racing she went out and won a silver medal. It was made even more impressive by the fact she was involved in a big crash the day before from which she was carrying an injury. The mental strength shown by Elise was a great lift for the whole team after what had been a very tough few weeks of competition.
After coming home and having to the realisation that the relay team would be missing out on going to the Olympic Games, I had to refocus myself and commit to a new. I met with my coach Nicky Gooch and after we analysed my World Cup performances we realised that I had skated the quickest lap time of all the athletes in the final World Cup in Kolomna. This showed me that I am not far from where I need to be and I am fast enough to compete with the best in the world. We were also able to identify some improvements to my skill execution that will make a big difference and help me to beat the best come Sochi.
In December, the BOA officially announced the short track team for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. It was a day I have been waiting for ever since the closing ceremony of the Vancouver Olympics. To be selected for my third Games is a great honour and I can’t wait to have another chance to achieve my ultimate goal.
I truly feel that Team GB can go to Sochi in February and create history. I can't wait to be a part of it!