Josh Cheetham moved one step closer to realising his Olympic dream last month with what once wasn’t event an afterthought fast becoming a reality as quick as he skates.
The 20-year-old was chosen last month as the fifth member of Britain’s short track relay for the World Cup season, which begins in Shanghai at the end of the month.
The third and fourth legs in Torino and Kolomna act as Olympic qualifiers with Cheetham joining Paul Stanley, Richard Shoebridge, Jack Whelbourne and Jon Eley on the squad.
The top eight teams from those two qualifiers will skate in Sochi next year and Cheetham admits he finds himself in a position he had once never thought would be possible.
“For me, when I was younger I never really saw myself being in this position, I never really thought I would be at this stage,” said Cheetham.
“This has come about recently, me actually going ‘I could actually be going [to the Olympics]’. Over time I have actually realised the magnitude of what I am doing and what it could amount to.
“Four years ago I had just finished school and I was looking for a job so it is a big turnaround. But since then I have qualified for the team and started going away with the guys.
“And it has just progressed from there. There is a good atmosphere around the team, everyone is helping each other and pushing each other harder towards the end goal.”
Cheetham is no stranger to senior international skating having competed at the final two World Cups of last season, one of which being the Olympic test event in Sochi.
He was also the fifth man on the relay team for the European and World Championships but is determined to remain calm despite what is now at stake.
“I have never been in this situation before, leading up to an Olympics, so I am going to take it all in and enjoy every moment of it rather than get stressed out,” he added.
“Last year I went to the European Championships as the fifth man for the relay, I went to the World Championships as the fifth man and I went to two World Cups as well.
“So it has progressed quite quickly over the past six months. Other than that the past three years I have just been developing and training and getting used to the lifestyle.
“The European and World Championships were an eye opener, it was a lot to take in but it was exciting at the same time.
“I saw where everyone else was at and how much I have got to do to progress to a level where I can actually compete and win medals. It made me come home and realise I wanted to train harder.”
© Sportsbeat 2013