Shoebridge delights in proving a point with world medal
March 17, 2014 10:51 am
Richard Shoebridge claims Britain's short track speed skaters proved a point with a vindicating relay bronze at the World Championships in Montreal.
Shoebridge joined forces with fellow Olympians Jon Eley and Jack Whelbourne, and Paul Stanley, as they became the first British men to win a world relay medal in six years.
And it went some way to making amends for their failure to line-up at the Olympics in Sochi, where they had long believed they were in the shape to challenge for a medal, only to struggle in the two qualifying events.
“It’s a great feeling to come here and win a medal after missing out on competing in the relay at the Olympics," said Shoebridge.
"We came back from that disappointment and proved a point here. I couldn’t be happier with my performance this week. I’ve had three top 20 finishes against an incredibly tough field and skated a lifetime best, so a medal in the relay is the cherry on top.”
Whelbourne was delighted with the medal, though if he hadn't been nudged in the dash for the line he might have helped Britain move higher up the podium, with the Netherlands taking gold and Korea silver.
“I tried my hardest on that last bend and I thought I had the gold," he said.
"I went past all three of them in the last quarter of a lap, but there was a bit of argy-bargy and I went down.
"But I’m pretty happy to finish the season on the podium, especially after a bit of back luck in my individual events here. We definitely showed everyone that we are one of the best teams in the world.”
And the medal had special significance for Stanley, 30, who was part of the last British relay quarter to claim a world medal and narrowly missed out on selection for Sochi.
“It’s a good finish to what has been a difficult season for me personally," he said.
"It was a really exciting race, on my last hand off I think I got us back into third place and everyone was going for gold on the line, it was so close. Jack skated amazingly and even though we were so close to winning, I’m really happy with a bronze after everything that’s happened this season.”
Elise Christie narrowly failed to add to her 500m silver in the 1000m but, after the disappointments of Sochi, team boss Stuart Horsepool was delighted with the performance of his squad.
“Elise has been unlucky yet again with the judges call and it cost her what could have been her second medal of the championships," he said.
"She along with the whole team however has skated superbly all throughout the competition. The relay performance was spectacular, Jack in particular. They have all done so well here and it is a truly brilliant way to end the season.”
© Sportsbeat 2014