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Gooch optimistic but fears short track's uncontrollables

January 21, 2014 14:32 pm

Nicky Gooch admits it will be hard to end Great Britain's 20-year wait for a short track speed skating Olympic medal - but he believes the team is in the right place to go close.

Four-time Olympian Gooch took 500m bronze at the 1994 Games in Lillehammer and has been coach for the British team for the last two Games in Turin and Vancouver.

But he believes the unpredictability of the sport makes it hard to pick out favourites, despite Team GB's Elise Christie topping the 1000m world rankings last season and winning last week's European title over the distance in Dresden.

"I don't think our sport has ever been tougher, from a performance point of view," said Gooch.

"The Europeans I've just come back from, I don't think I've ever seen racing this hard with just European skaters and I think the times being set were probably the fastest ever by Europeans. 

"Though we've had some success this year we still haven't had the success we wanted. We're certainly very optimistic but I think to come home with a medal will still be a real challenge. 

"As a sport we do have some history of success but the problem is predicting the outcome, especially in a sport like short track.

"We can go there (Sochi) and Elise can be the fastest on the ice but that doesn't mean she's going to win. There are so many uncontrollables and that's the real issue and exciting thing about the sport."

© Sportsbeat 2014