14th Nov, 2018

Charlotte's joy over Winter Games call

Liam Moakes 14th Dec, 2017 Updated: 14th Dec, 2017

REDDITCH star Charlotte Gilmartin is jubilant after being selected for her second Winter Olympics.

The 27-year-old is one of five short track speed skaters – including Henley-in-Arden’s Farrell Treacy – chosen for PyeongChang 2018 by the British Olympic Association (BOA).

Reigning world champion Elise Christie spearheads the team and alongside her is trusted British women’s number two Gilmartin who will compete in the 500m, 1,000m and 1,500m events in February’s Games.

Treacy, like Gilmartin a member of the Solihull Mohawks team, will race in the men’s 1,000m event and the duo are part of a current 17-strong GB squad for the Games following the earlier selection of ten curlers and two figure skaters.

Christie and Gilmartin return from the team who competed at Sochi 2014, with triple world champion Christie competing in her third Games, while Kathryn Thomson, Joshua Cheetham and Treacy will all make their Olympic debuts in South Korea.

Along with the world titles, Christie has ten European crowns to her name and last year became the world record holder over 500m.

Gilmartin has collected European and World Cup medals over the last year, making significant year-on-year improvements since Sochi 2014, while 21-year-old Thomson has consistently qualified for quarter and semi-finals of World Cup events.

Following a number of changes in the men’s team since Sochi 2014, the next generation of British male athletes are making a name for themselves at world level, with results enabling both Treacy and Cheetham to secure spots in the 1,000m event.

World bronze and European gold and silver medallist Gilmartin, who finished second overall at the 2016 European Championships, said: “I am honoured to represent Team GB at my second Games.

“Korea will be insane, especially for the short track events. I can’t wait to race!”

Christie said: “It’s been a great end to the World Cup season for me and a relief after a tough season with injuries.

“I can’t wait to get back out to Korea and compete again at the stadium in front of the crowds there who are amazing and I’m really looking forward to being part of Team GB again after four years.”

A dream realised

Treacy added: “This is a dream come true and something I’ve always wanted since starting short track speed skating.

“It’s been an aim for me to get to the Games, particularly in the last four years since Sochi. There has been heartache and success along the way, so it feels amazing to be selected.”

GB Short Track team leader Stewart Laing said: “We have a really great group of athletes who have performed well this season to be selected for PyeongChang.

“We have a mix of experience through Elise and Charlotte who have been to Olympic Games previously and first-time Olympians in Kathryn, Josh and Farrell.

“We’re extremely excited to be fielding our women in all events, which demonstrates the strength of our female programme, and anticipate the boys will be able to gain as much experience as possible with the aim of medalling in Beijing 2022.

“This team announcement is an accumulation of multiple years’ worth of work put in by the athletes and the coaches. We look forward to finishing our training preparations at the National Ice Centre in Nottingham before heading out to Seoul for our pre-Games preparation.”

Team GB chef de Mission Mike Hay said: “Short track is going to be one of the showpiece events at PyeongChang 2018, played out in a country with a huge passion for the sport.

“For our five athletes, competing in South Korea in February will be an incredible experience and just reward for their efforts to qualify and be selected to Team GB for the Winter Olympics.

“The team is a great mix of talent, experience and debutants and I’m sure the nation will be getting behind them as they bid to take on the world’s best next year.”

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