Miracle on Ice gets Coomes ready for Winter Olympics

07 February 2014 / 15:57

It is that time of year again where Penny Coomes delves into her DVD collection for a little inspiration – and she’s adamant she and Nicholas Buckland can win their own battle with adversity.

Ice dancers Coomes and Buckland have known since December that they will be making their second appearance at the Olympic Winter Games this month in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi.

Coached by Russian double Olympic champion Evgeny Platov there’s no doubting that they will be prepared but, rather than giving them a Lonely Planet guide to Sochi, he’s taken them back in time.

Platov advised that they watch cult film Miracle – based on the Miracle on Ice at the Lake Placid 1980 Games where the USA ice hockey team defeated seemingly invincible Russia and won gold.

Coomes relates to the film on many levels, from openly admitting she’s not naturally the best skater in the world to Buckland first noticing a racing heartbeat on their Olympic debut at Vancouver 2010.

Like the Americans, they are nearing Olympic medal potential too, admitting last month’s European bronze came ahead of schedule, and Coomes is now ready to see what Sochi can offer.

“It [the film] is so inspiring. I love hard work, I am one of those wired people the more I do the better I feel,” said Coomes, who finished 20th with Buckland in the ice dance at Vancouver 2010.

“There is this one part where they play a hockey match and they don’t skate very well so at the end of the match the coach asks them to do these sprints again, again and again.

“And with me on the ice he [Platov] always says to me again, again. With that hard work they defy all odds and win the Olympic gold medal and I know that sort of relates with me.

“I am not naturally the best skater in the world. I am not naturally uber-talented but I have got to where I have through hard work.

“I thoroughly enjoy – I would not say every – but most training sessions with him. He is a character, he inspires me on the ice every day and I am very lucky to work with him.

“And I feel like because of Evgeny I have improved so much in the past five years. He has pushed me and that film really resonates with me.”

Coomes, Buckland and the four other British figure skaters selected for Sochi 2014 are guaranteed to make their own history in Russia as they compete in the first ever Olympic team event.

The ice dance portion begins the day after the opening ceremony before the individual competition gets underway with the short dance eight days later.

And Coomes is adamant, that while they won’t be winning any medals in Sochi, along with Platov the foundations are being laid for an historic Games in Pyeongchang in 2018.

“When we were there [at the Europeans] we knew third spot was up for grabs and we knew that we had the potential to get there,” she added.

“The fact that we got a bronze medal earlier in our career than we anticipated is great and it really shows us that these really high goals and ambitions that we have for ourselves are possible.

“More medals will come sooner rather than later.”

© Sportsbeat 2014