Whelbourne's thoughts already on road to Pyeongchang 2018

31 October 2014 / 16:02

Buoyed by his history-making appearance in the 1500m final at Sochi 2014, short track speed skater Jack Whelbourne insists he is not hanging around when it comes to making himself a medal contender in four years' time.

Whelbourne became the first Briton to reach an Olympic 1500m short track final after a series of impressive performances in Russia which included setting a new British record in the heats.

But despite defying his world ranking to make the medal race – he was ranked 26th in the world and had failed to even reach a World Cup final throughout the season leading up to Sochi – it was to be disappointment for the 23-year-old as he rolled his ankle on a dislodged course marker and crashed out.

Gold went to Canada’s Charles Hamelin ahead of China’s Han Tianyu and bronze medallist Viktor Ahn of Russia with Whelbourne, hampered by his ankle injury, then failing to make it out of the subsequent heats of the 500m and 1000m races.

However the former world junior champion insists there are still plenty of positives to take out of Sochi, most notably his progression from his Games debut in Vancouver four years earlier where he placed 16th in the 1500m as well as being a member of the 5000m relay which finished sixth.

And with the Olympic cycle to Pyeongchang 2018 about to begin in earnest with the new season getting underway next week, Whelbourne intends to lay down a marker of intent early on.

“Other people might be taking it a bit easier this year as four years is a long time,” he said. "But I am trying to take this season to bridge the gap between me and the likes of Charles Hamelin and Viktor Ahn.

“If I can bridge the gap now then when they start to pick up towards the end of the Olympic cycle I will be closer to them and will not be still trying to play catch up.

“I did not have much experience in Vancouver but I learnt a lot from it, moved forward in Sochi and it was great to be up there in the final in the 1500m.

“It was a shame that I stumbled and crashed out but I showed I had improved from Vancouver and I believe I will do the same come South Korea.

“I’m going for third time lucky at Pyeongchang to get a medal. I’m working on improving my skills all the time, I like the big events and thrive in those situations. I want to be making finals regularly and medalling.”

© Sportsbeat 2014