Figure skaters Amani Fanci (London) and Graham Newberry were the last of the 17-strong Team GB squad to start their competition at the 2013 European Youth Olympic Winter Games (EYOWF), and they certainly proved that they were last but by no means least when they took to the Ice Rink in Poiana Braşov.
Fourteen-year old Newberry, the youngest member of Team GB, had a fantastic skate which saw him place third after the short programme and in reaching distance of a medal when he returns to the ice on Friday for the free programme.
Despite his delight Newberry was quick to admit there was plenty of room left for improvement.
“I really did not expect to get that result with the programme that I did so I'm really pleased,” he said. “I need to try and land some jumps in the free on Friday, but I prefer that programme so I'm looking forward to it. I am going to try to ignore the fact that I am in bronze-medal position, I just want to try and focus on getting my performance right and hopefully I can hold my position.”
Earlier that afternoon skating to music from the ‘Pink Panther’ fellow figure skater Amani Fancy produced a season’s best score for her presentation mark to place 20th. Reflecting on her EYOWF debut Fancy said:
“I honestly didn’t do as well had hoped to do, but I can’t be too upset and I have my fingers crossed for a better performance tomorrow. I skated my best presentation score of this year, this whole season, so I am really very happy with that. I am pleased with my technical score, I don’t think I could have given any more today.”
Alpine skier Darcie Mead (Kingston-Upon Thames) rounded off her EYOWF experience with a fantastic 31st place in the slalom event. Mead who went off in 56th place put in a solid first run to see her qualify for the second run in 32nd place. Then, as the fog moved in on the slopes of Poiana Braşov Mead held her nerve to finish the slalom competition in 31st place.
“The slalom went OK, it went better than I expected it to.” said Mead. “I started quite far back in 56th, my aim was to jump up 10 bibs, and I finished 31st so that is a big improvement. Slalom is not my strongest discipline to start with anyway but to race against girls I have raced against before and see how quick I am in comparison has been really encouraging. This experience has motivated me to do well and to keep training, keep working hard and do more gym work this summer.”
Mead also found having Sochi 2014 Ambassador Amy Williams on hand throughout the festival a real source of inspiration. “It’s been really good having Amy (Williams) here to support me,” she added. “Having her to talk to has been really motivating. It’s been really good to have someone with her experience here to help me. It’s annoying hearing it from my coach all the time as much as I appreciate it, it is nice to hear it from someone else, so it’s been really good!”
Williams said: “It has been fantastic being part of Team GB here in Braşov at the EYOWF. To be able to share my experiences of competing at the Olympic Winter Games and in skeleton for ten years has been really rewarding, especially when I can see the difference it makes to some of the athletes' mind-set pre, during and post competition. Seeing them develop the way they have over this week is very exciting and I am sure there are big things to come from a number of them in future.”