Whelbourne believes you need more than luck in short track

04 February 2014 / 13:34

Jack Whelbourne believes you can't be lucky without being good - even in the thrills and spills Olympic sport of short track speed skating.

British number one and European gold medallist Whelbourne competes over 500m, 1000m and 1500m in Sochi.

And while making guarantees is tough in a sport where even a champ can look a champ, Whelbourne claims whoever makes the podium deserves a medal, even if they do it in the famous manner of Steven Bradbury.

Bradbury was the Australian skater who won 1000m gold at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games after all his final rivals were wiped out in last corner pile-up. There was even a touch of fortune about his progress through the quarter and semi finals after disqualification and falls played to his advantage.

"Everyone gets asked about Steven Bradbury at the Olympics," said Whelbourne, who finished 16th over 1500m at the Vancouver Games.

"Most people say he was really lucky and although he was lucky on that day, you need to know more about how hard he worked for that moment.

"If you read his autobiography you would realise that there were many other days when he didn't have any luck, so he deserved it when it finally came along.

"I don't believe this is a sport were you have to be lucky. To be here, just to qualify for the Olympics, you deserve it if you do get that medal.

"I love racing and I believe I can get a consistent result in any distance that I skate. I'm feeling good and I'm confident about every event I'm entered in."

Great Britain's five-strong team have all won major championship medals, with 500m specialist Jon Eley a former Olympic finalist and Elise Christie ranked number one in the world over 1000m last season.

Team coach Nicky Gooch was the last British short track skater to win an Olympic medal, 20 years ago in Lillehammer, but team leader Stuart Horsepool is looking ahead with confidence.

"It's hard to predict short track speed skating but the results we've had in this Olympic cycle mean it would be wrong to say we don't have an opportunity of winning a medal," he said.

"Just to qualify for this team you need to be within two percent of the world record or four precent if it's your first Games. These guys have worked incredibly hard just to be selected and you can't say they are not at a world standard.

"In the men's and women's events there are possibly 12 to 16 people capable of winning a medal in each distance and our guys are right in that band.

"I don't feel the pressure to hit a target and hopefully the athletes don't either. If we get the processes right then we will get an opportunity and we might get more than one opportunity.

"We consider ourselves to be a medal winning team but we need to get it right on the day."

© Sportsbeat 2014