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The week in women’s sport

Preparation for coming events, mixed results and medallists inspiring a new generation were on the menu this week in women’s sport writes Healthista Sports Ed, Adele Norris

SKATING

Elise Christie wants gold at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang – It will put her Sochi disappointment behind her.

She was crowned World Cup champion over 1000m in the 2012-13 season.

She won the World Championship bronze over the same distance last year.

Then Christie headed to the Sochi Games as one to watch for Team GB.

But Russia wasn’t as nice to her.

Elise Christie (front) Picture: Michael Poole
Elise Christie (front) Picture: Michael Poole

Over three individual distances she was ruled to have performed illegal manoeuvres on each occasion.

Now the 23-year-old has won 500m silver at the World Championships and told Team GB she is already looking to the future and PyeongChang 2018.

‘You are supposed to reach your peak in speed skating after ten years, so for me, I’ll peak for the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea,’ she said.

‘There is a possibility of a switch to long track after 2018, but this is not something I am thinking about at the moment.

‘I have a lot to work on before 2018, but I will be more experienced and will hopefully win the gold medal. I’ll definitely give it my best shot.’

British ice dance duo Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland and fellow Brit Jenna McCorkell experience different endings on the final day of the World Figure Skating Championships

Coomes and Buckland secured their best World Championship finish in Saitama.

Placing ninth in the free dance following a ninth in the short dance gave them the same position overall.

Penny and Nick European bronze. Picture from left to right: Phillip Askew, choreographer and support coach, Penny Coomes and Nick Buckland and coach Evgeny Platov.
Penny and Nick European bronze. Picture from left to right: Phillip Askew, choreographer and support coach, Penny Coomes and Nick Buckland and coach Evgeny Platov.

It tops off the season for the British pair who won European Championship bronze before finishing an impressive tenth at their second Winter Olympics in Sochi.

However there was heartache for fellow British skater McCorkell.

She had an injury which prevented her from taking to the ice for the last competitive skate of her career.

The 11-time British champion advanced to the free skate after placing 20th with a season best in the short program but was forced to pull out with a hamstring injury.

CYCLING

Jess Varnish hopes new televised women’s race on the final day of the Tour de France will boost participation, although admits she still has unfinished business on the track.

The Tour de France kicks off in Yorkshire this year, with a difference.

On the final day of the race a women’s road race will also be televised.

Varnish is hopeful the event can have a positive impact on participation.

jess v 2

The 23-year-old insists she is sticking to the track for a little while yet as she sets her sights on the Rio 2016 Olympics.

‘The women’s Tour de France is going to have a massive influence on getting women cycling,’ Varnish told Team GB.

‘The road races that women do these days aren’t televised and they’re not in our faces like all the men’s races are, which is a huge shame because they have the same status as the men’s races. With the Tour de France and the attention it will get, more people should get involved.

‘It’s not really something I’ve thought about because there’s still so much I want to achieve in track cycling and sprinting. I don’t feel I’ve done what I want to do here yet.

‘For me, Rio is a massive, massive opportunity. It’s where I want to be and I’m going for it full gas. It’s more important. I’m an older and more mature athlete. I’m really looking forward to it and really want to be there.’

JUDO

British judoka Sally Conway back into the world’s top eight after taking Silver at the Samsun Grand Prix in Turkey.

Conway, who fought for Britain at the London 2012 Olympics, secured her second -70kg silver of the season.

She was a gold medallist at last year’s Samsun Grand Prix.

Sally Conway Twitter: @sconway70

Conway finished under German Laura Vargas Koch who landed a late yuko for victory after Conway had recorded three wins to battle for gold.

But Conway wasn’t overly complaining as he returns home from Turkey with a place back in the top eight of the world.

‘I felt quite relaxed all day and happy with my performance even though I lost the final,’ said Conway to Team GB.

‘There are some positives from the day which I will take forward to the European Championships.’

SKIING

Four-time Olympian Chemmy Alcott has announced her retirement from ski racing.

Alcott finished 19th in the women’s downhill at Sochi.

She had just overcome yet another injury that looked to have ended her season.

She had 11th place finishes at the Games in Turin and Vancouver, but told Team GB her ‘against the odds performance’ in Russia means she can end her competitive career on a high.

‘It is with a heavy but happy and proud heart that I relinquish my role as a ski racer,’ she said.

‘This season, after breaking my leg in August, I knew it had to be all about the Olympics.

‘Looking back to how I managed to turn around a 91st position at the Europa Cup to a 19th at the Olympics in a matter of weeks makes me immensely proud.

‘I threw myself down the mountain in Sochi with a confidence I’d managed to create from nothing.

‘On paper I’ve had better results but one of my proudest achievements was in Sochi.’

Chemmy Alcott, Women's Super G
Chemmy Alcott, Women’s Super G

Alcott’s career has been full of serious injuries.

She said she wants to remain in the sport, possibly as a coach, and has already proved a popular television commentator.

‘It’s been an amazing journey. It’s been tough but I’m proud of everything and I’ve relished the challenge, despite having to overcome adversity,’ she added.

‘I’ve a huge black book of experiences that I want to pass down to future ski racers.’

SNOWBOARDING

Olympic bronze medallist snowboarder Jenny Jones isn’t ruling out a run at Pyeongchang 2018 – but told Team GB her immediate attentions are being drawn to inspiring the next generation of British slope stars.

Since Sochi the 33-year-old has been busy with talk shows and open-top bus tours.

But Jones says the next Winter Olympics may be too far away for her, although she’s not planning on hanging up her board just yet.

‘There’s never been a four-year goal like the Olympics for slopestyle, so it’s a whole new world for me to think like that,’ she said.

‘It was announced two years ago that slopestyle would be in the Winter Olympics, and two years didn’t sound like that far away, so I thought I’d just about make Sochi.

‘Four years is different so I’ll have to see. I don’t want to make the decision yet, I want to let everything heal up from Sochi, and when I don’t feel quite so injured I’ll make the decision.

‘It’s only another year or so until the X Games and events like that, so if I get invited I’d definitely consider doing those.

‘I’m not sure about competing in four years time. Snowboarding has a lot of impact on your body and you do get injuries.

‘When I list off my injuries it seems a lot, but over 15 years it is an average amount for an extreme sports athlete.”

Around the Games: Day 3 - 2014 Winter Olympic Games

Jones has revisited the Churchill dry slope where she first snowboarded aged 17 – she found out they are booked out until late April.

And she also paid a visit to her former school, Hambrook Primary in South Gloucestershire, to meet some children who took great inspiration from her exploits in Sochi.

‘They were an amazing group of children,’ she said.

‘I walked in and they were all sat there listening and concentrating to what I had to say, and they were genuinely interested as well.

‘They asked so many questions about snowboarding and they had all learned a song all about the school and snowboarding, which they then sang to me.

‘It wasn’t until then that I knew what people meant about inspiring children.

‘You don’t think that you’re affecting that many people but they all seemed genuinely excited and were constantly asking me questions about whether they would be able to do snowboarding.

‘That’s the Olympic legacy in front of my eyes.’

Read last week’s women’s sport round up from Adele

 

Adele by lineAdele Norris is the sports editor at healthista.com  

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