Charlotte Gilmartin’s fledgling short track speed skating career continued on an upward trajectory last season and she’s confident if it carries on like that she can be a silent assassin at Sochi 2014.
The 23-year-old appeared on the World Cup circuit for the first time during the 2007-08 season with the campaign just gone, in which she won European 1500m bronze, marking her best return yet.
Gilmartin headed into the 2012-13 season with a best of tenth on the World Cup circuit from the campaign before as well as two finishes of a similar position at the European Championships.
And she was to surpass all those as she ranked in the top ten in World Cups three times with a best of sixth in the 500m at the third leg of the season in Nagoya before starring on the continent.
Gilmartin claimed bronze in the 1500m at the European Championships in Malmo in January with fellow Brit Elise Christie taking gold before adding the 1000m title and placing second overall.
Injury thereafter prevented Gilmartin from presenting a real case at the remaining two World Cups and the World Championships thereafter but it hasn’t knocked her spirits.
And, with less than nine months to go until the 2014 Winter Olympics kick off in Sochi, Gilmartin is adamant she will revel in the atmosphere of her maiden Games if selected.
“Everyone took a step forward last season and that’s positive going into Olympic year. My breakthrough came at the Europeans, I got my first ever medal with bronze in the 1500m,” said Gilmartin.
“The next two distances I ended up in crashes and got injured so my season plateaued out. But I was getting top-ten, top-six results in World Cup events.
“The season before was a step up when I was making top-16 or top-10 so it’s been good. My expectations for the Olympics haven’t changed much because I try not to look at things in that way.
“But definitely there is an excitement regarding a possibility becoming a probability and getting to finals and seeing what I can do.
“Two years ago it was top-16, last season it was top-ten, now I want to progress again and see where it takes me.
“I skate well when the pressure is on, when there’s something to achieve because you feel closer to it. So for me, with the Olympics being this big event, I will be the underdog.
“Everyone knows it’ll be my first Games so they’ll just think ‘oh we’ll see what she can do’. But I’ll be thinking I’ve got no pressure and that’s when I can perform so hopefully it’ll be great.”
© Sportsbeat 2013