Charlotte Gilmartin insists she is getting better by the season and is determined to show further improvements this term and land an individual skate at her first Olympics.
The 23-year-old short track speed skater missed out on the Vancouver 2010 Olympics as Sarah Lindsay and Elise Christie earned the right to represent Team GB in Canada.
However Gilmartin enjoyed her best season since placing 31st in the 2009-10 World Cup rankings for the 1500m last term and claimed European bronze in Malmo in January.
Gilmartin ranked 25th in the 1500m after six World Cups and 14th in the 500m with her European medal coming in the former as teammate Christie took gold.
This season there are only four World Cups with the final two in Torino and Kolomna acting as the all-important qualifiers for next year’s Olympics in Sochi.
The first World Cup is already underway in Shanghai with Gilmartin qualifying out of the 1500m heats but not the 500m after success in the pre-preliminaries and preliminaries.
And Gilmartin is adamant her career trajectory will continue upwards this season and lead to a maiden Olympic appearance as part of the British team in Russia in February.
“I didn’t qualify last time but I came close though. I’ve taken massive steps forward so I’m excited for this season,” said Gilmartin.
“I came close enough [to Vancouver] but at that point I just wasn’t ready and I hadn’t really achieved that much yet.
“This time I’ve been getting top-ten results and getting in the top eight and top six. It’s definitely more exciting to compete rather than just turn up.
“Last season was my best by far. The European medal was obviously the highlight. Going in I knew I was fit. I was strong compared to how I had been in the past.
“I’m more of a 500m skater so to get bronze in the 1500m was good; it proved to me that I can be an all-round skater.
“For me, racing takes a lot of energy emotionally. Hopefully I’ll get in a good position that makes it easier in the qualifiers to move my ranking up a bit.
“You want to go out there and be the best you can be but there are so many circumstances that are out of your control so a little bit of it is about luck.”
As well as her individual ambitions, Gilmartin will also be bidding to qualify Britain’s first ever 3000m women’s relay team at an Olympic Games in Sochi.
Gilmartin joins Christie, Alex Stanley and Kathryn Thomson on the relay quartet, which need to be ranked in the top eight once the results from the two World Cup Olympic qualifiers are combined.
“Having the rest of the girls around for support is incredible. We’re not necessarily in the medal zone as we’ve only done one season as a group,” she added.
“Our youngest member is only a baby, bless her, so we’re asking a lot of her but hopefully we can do well and qualify.
“Hopefully we can get some momentum going, make it to the Olympics, get the experience and keep building.”
© Sportsbeat 2013