Coomes and Buckland look to future with confidence

18 February 2014 / 05:56

Penny Coomes felt one thing and Nick Buckland felt another as they ended their second Olympic campaign together in Sochi – but they're in agreement about the most important matter of all.

Nottingham ice dancers Coomes and Buckland brought the curtain down on their second Olympic outing with a score of 91.78 from their Michael Jackson inspired free dance at the Iceberg Skating Palace.

Combined with their short dance, which they performed on Sunday and scored 59.33, that gave them a total of 151.11 and placed them tenth – bang on their target for the Games.

Coomes curled up into a ball as she came off the ice and tried to hold back the tears with the feeling in her legs gone while Buckland absorbed what some skaters have labelled a biased Russian crowd.

Buckland wasn't nervous, Coomes was – but they are together on one thing, adamant that over the next four years they can go from European bronze medallists to Olympic medallists.

"I gave it everything. I couldn't feel my legs when I got off. I couldn't feel my feet, I just wanted to take my skates off," said Coomes, who placed 20th with Buckland on their Winter Olympic debut at Vancouver 2010.

"It has happened a couple of times but this was particularly bad. At the end I can hold it together better than that but I just sat crying. I felt quite nervous out there with it all.

"When we went to Vancouver, that was almost like a free ticket for us. We got to go there and experience it and take it all in. Now this time around it is a little bit more serious.

"And it has definitely given me that hunger and I really want to come back in four years time and get that medal. That is what we are going to strive for everyday. We will give it everything and see how it goes."

To show the level Coomes and Buckland must jump up to in order to be in the medal mix at the next Games in Pyeongchang in 2018 – bronze was won by Russians Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov with a combined total of 183.48.

That isn't lost on Buckland however, who himself is simply lucky to have just finished his second Winter Olympic campaign having complained of a racing heartbeat on debut in Vancouver.

"I felt OK out there, I was weirdly relaxed before. I felt quite confident. I felt Vancouver came sooner than expected, so in our plan Sochi would have been in our first Games," he added.

"But everything seems to be mapping out like we want it to. Vancouver was a little bit of extra experience for us, which made this time a little bit easier.

"There is a lot to learn and that is why I didn't come in and say I wanted to medal because I know we have got skills to perfect.

"We have got to show ourselves as top contenders and we have got to mature and take our skating to a new level. I feel we are competitive now and that is just going to carry on for the next four years."

Coached by double Olympic ice dance champion Evgeny Platov they certainly have a man in their corner that is capable of lifting them seven places up the rankings and onto the podium.

There will be little rest for Coomes and Buckland with the World Championships fast approaching and scheduled to begin at the end of March in Japan.

And, despite having just competed at their second Olympics and improved ten places from 20th to tenth, Coomes believes now represents the start of the partnership together.

"I feel like we have only just begun. We have been skating together for a long time but the way we train now compared to four years ago it is just another level," she added.

"And I feel like we have only just started to get on that ladder to reach our potential We are nowhere close to what we can do, I am sure of that, if we keep working how we have been working we will surprise ourselves."

As for Platov he believes their performance at last month's European Championships was better but has vowed to help them deliver a medal in four years time.

"It went pretty well. Actually, I think the Europeans was better, there was more fire in the skate," he said. "But overall I think they skated pretty well. I cannot ever be satisfied because if you are satisfied it means your job is over.

"They will make that jump. In every aspect we are going to add a lot. We have to add endurance so they can fly and we have to have more speed.

"The next target in four years is medals – definitely."

From Ryan Bangs, Sportsbeat, in Sochi

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