Gilmartin ready to go all out in PyeongChang
Short Track Speed Skating

Gilmartin ready to go all out in PyeongChang

03 February 2018 / 17:09

Charlotte Gilmartin has urged her Olympic rivals to ‘bring on the argy bargy’ in PyeongChang.

Short track speed skating is a sport compared to human dodgem cars and Gilmartin knows that risk can be the ultimate reward. 

Gilmartin has established herself as a podium regular since making her Olympic debut four years ago where she made the quarter-finals of the 500m and failed to progress past the 1,500m heats.

Now a more serious medal contender – last February she claimed two consecutive World Cup bronze medals – the 27-year-old has the belief, strength and tactical nous to peak when it matters in her three events: 500m, 1,000m and 1,500m.

“I’m the one who makes all the argy-bargy,” she said, happily referring to herself as an ‘underdog’. 

“Four years ago I felt like I had to commit but I only had a certain amount of strength in me.

“I feel like the way I race now is more risky but it’s more fun. I can’t afford to put all my eggs in one basket necessarily but I love racing – I love the excitement of not knowing what’s going to happen.

“I race best that way – each move up the pack gives me energy and belief."

Gilmartin – part of Team GB's five-strong short track speed skating squad – hasn’t been put off her stride despite some major crashes so far this season: at the beginning she broke her coccyx while at the end she tore her hip.

Instead, she views the enforced breaks as a positive.

“I’m more confident and in Sochi I really struggled to qualify just because of the pressure of qualifying,” she added.

“So then by the time I got to the Games it was relief more than excitement. This time round I’m going to put my best performance out there.

“With short track sometimes you don’t quite get it right on the day – with so many tactics to think about.

“I don’t think I’ve had my perfect race yet this season for sure so I’m excited to do it when it matters.”

A close friend of GB’s leading short track light Elise Christie, Gilmartin is acutely aware of the dangers of such a knife-edge sport.

Especially off the track, after the multiple world and European champion was bullied on social media during her unfortunate Sochi Olympics where she failed to get a medal in her three events.

“It was difficult to watch her go through that, obviously after the first distance it was a bit like ‘You’ve got two more distances, it will be ok’ as I tried to reassure her and be a soundboard,” she added.

“There’s nothing you can say really so I was trying to be supportive, but words mean nothing in that scenario when she had the most medals from World Cups going into that Olympics, something like 11/12 that year.

“She was pretty much unbeatable, so to come away with two DQs and a fall was devastating but there was nothing I could have done. I’m pretty confident she’s well and truly bounced back now though.

“You’re there for your own performance and that’s what you’ve got to make sure – that every decision you make is going towards that and being positive for that.”

Sportsbeat 2018

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