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4th Jul, 2022

WINTER OLYMPICS - Henley-in-Arden speed skater Niall Treacy vows to come back stronger from "surreal" Beijing experience

NIALL TREACY vowed to be back again in four years’ time after immersing himself in a “surreal” Winter Olympic debut.

The short track speed skater from Henley-in-Arden was unable to progress through his 1000m heats as Britain’s rotten luck on the Olympic ice continued in Beijing.

But 21-year-old Treacy has been a sponge to his surroundings in the Chinese capital and relished the opportunity to fly the Team GB flag on the big stage.

He knows nothing can prepare an athlete for the bright Olympic lights and believes Milano Cortina 2026 will be his time to shine.

Niall said: “I’ve had half an eye on four years’ time, even before I came out here.

“That was the goal before these Olympics – using it as a learning experience. I’m 21, so I don’t see this as being my last Olympics – I came here and it was about doing everything I can, taking in everything I can so I can gain as much experience as possible and learn as much as I can.

“It’s like no other competition – it’s so surreal and not much can prepare you for it apart from doing an Olympics itself, so I’ll be using that for 2026.

“It’s been really exciting. The build-up of us coming out as part of Team GB and being at the airport – it was so special to be part of the team.”

Treacy and his brother Farrell, 26, formed two-thirds of Britain’s short track team in Beijing alongside experienced campaigner Kathryn Thomson.

The sport has never been a happy hunting ground for British athletes and despite all three showing promise on the World Cup circuit.

Niall fell and finished last in his 1000m heat, Farrell miscounted the number of laps in his race while Thomson, 26, crashed after fewer than 15 seconds in the 500m.

Whilst his brother Farrell became the first British short track speed skater to reach a Winter Olympic final for 16 years on Wednesday, for Niall, his solitary entry into the 1000m meant his Olympic debut came to an end.

Niall loved absorbing his overwhelming surroundings and says tasting the Team GB camaraderie has whetted his appetite for 2026 and beyond.

“The village was crazy – it all feels so massive, there are countries all over the world and we’re all sharing food halls, added Niall, whose career on the ice is supported by a partnership between Entain – owner of Ladbrokes and Coral – and SportsAid.

“Sometimes it made me feel a bit overwhelmed – there’s so much stuff to do and see and it’s been brilliant.

“To see other sports and ask how it’s going makes you feel part of the bigger team – it’s not just about short track, it’s about the bigger picture.

“You’re not on your own, which is good – these guys know first-hand what you’re experiencing and the pressure and excitement of competition.

“They shared that – and that makes it easier for each other.”

Entain, owner of Ladbrokes and Coral, is proud to be championing the next generation of British sporting heroes by providing talented young athletes with financial support and personal development opportunities in partnership with SportsAid. Visit entaingroup.com to find out more

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