FARRELL Treacy became the first British short track speed skater to reach a Winter Olympic final for 16 years.
The skater from Henley-in-Arden, who was recovering from Covid a month ago, was pushed into the race for the gold medal in Wednesday’s men’s 1,500 metres race in Beijing after an eventful semi-final at the Capitol Indoor Stadium.
He was in contention to qualify only be bumped and knocked back to fifth in the closing stages. But after a review China’s Ziwei Ren was penalised for an arm block, while Canada’s Charles Hamelin was also handed a penalty, allowing Treacy to move to third.
In the 10-man final, Treacy, who represents Birmingham Mohawks and has had to self-fund his Games preparation, crossed the line in ninth place in two minutes 12 seconds.
Korea’s Hwang Dea-heon took the gold.
“To make the Olympic final, is an achievement for me,” Treacy told the BBC afterwards. “I didn’t think it would happen – I didn’t think I would be here four weeks ago. It’s extra sweet especially with how bad my first day was.”
He added: “I had nothing to lose. The plan was to get in amongst and stay clear of trouble but the pace got quicker and quicker and it was a bit too much. It’s an Olympic final so that’s what happens.
“I got a national record so the time was good.”
It was a perfect way for the 26-year-old Treacy to bounce back after a disappointing start to his Games in the 1,000m event. He came home last after miscounting the laps and sprinting too early.
Treacy admitted he had undergone “four years of injury chaos” with a broken leg and ankle, a twisted knee, damaged ligaments and hip surgery. A funding cut meant he was no longer tied to training in the UK, and after stints in Italy and Hungary, he benefitted from improved facilities in the USA.
Farrell’s younger brother, Niall, crashed out on his Olympic debut in the 1,000m event.
However, the 21-year-old will use the experience towards the 2026 Winter Olympics in Milano-Cortina, Italy.