REDDITCH Winter Olympics star Charlotte Gilmartin is no stranger to the highest stage, but Pyeongchang 2018 may well mark the speed skater’s time to shine, according to triple World champion Elise Christie.
Having represented Team GB at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, a whole host of World Cup medals in recent months have put 27-year-old Gilmartin well in contention for a ticket to South Korea next February.
Often overshadowed by the achievements of team-mate Christie, who overcame concussion to win triple gold at the World Championships in Rotterdam in March, Gilmartin came into her own in February, winning bronze at World Cups in Dresden and Minsk.
Christie insists the best is yet to come from Gilmartin, a European Championships overall silver medallist in 2016.
“I don’t see it that she’s nipping at my heels because we’ve always been really close and really supportive of each other,” said Christie at a workshop for 50 athletes who are now being aided by support from Nottingham Building Society and Harrison Murray alongside charity SportsAid.
“She’s taught me a lot through the years because she started on the team earlier than I did and I remember the first time I beat her she had told me to pass her.
“It’s great for the team that she is winning World Cup medals now too, because we want to try and get a girls’ relay team out there. The fact she’s winning medals and doing so well means we’re more likely to.
“I don’t really train with the girls which is why I don’t really see her nipping at me that much, because I train with the boys.
“But maybe if I was training with her I would feel more like that. It’s great she’s doing that well and we’re hoping she continues to improve.”
With the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics now less than ten months away, there is hope that history can be made before Britain’s speed skating stars even step on to the ice as they look to qualify a women’s relay team for the first time.
With Gilmartin and Christie in the form of their lives as the pressure ramps up, the latter sees no reason why success cannot be theirs at the first time of asking.
“We’ve never qualified a relay team before, so there’s a lot of pressure on the girls, but I’m hoping we can do it and I believe there is capability of doing it,” said Christie.
“We finished tenth this year and that was without me racing a lot of the events, because I ended up injured, and also one of the other girls was injured too, so I think we can do it.”
Nottingham Building Society and Harrison Murray teamed up with SportsAid in 2013 to help future sports stars get their time to shine. Visit thenottingham.com to find out more.