CHARLOTTE Gilmartin has now got the Olympic T-shirt but next time around she wants a medal rather than an experience.
The 23-year old short track speed skater – a European bronze medallist last season – concluded her campaign in Sochi with a fifth place finish in her 1,500m heat, with only the top three progressing.
But the Redditch flyer has taken heart from reaching the quarter-finals of the 500m earlier in the Games and already plotting her road to Pyeongchang, the next hosts of the Games in 2018.
“I’d have liked to have qualified but I can’t lose sight that this Olympics was really about gathering experience for me,” she said.
“Whenever you are on the ice you want to be competitive but it’s also important to be realistic and not get disappointed for no good reason.
“I’m certainly not beating myself up because it’s four years time when I think I will be competitive with these girls.
“I’ve had a flavour of what the Olympics are like and I can call myself an Olympian now, which is a very special thing.”
Gilmartin will now spend this week supporting British athletes in a variety of sports, in particular short track team mate Elise Christie.
Christie has had a torrid Games so far and the pressure is ramping up ahead of tomorrow’s 1000m, the event in which she ended last season ranked number one in the world and claimed the recent European title.
But the Scot will need to show mental strength, following her disqualification in the 500m final and the 1,500m heat on Saturday, where replays showed she skated just millimetres outside the finish line.
In addition, she has been forced to close her Twitter account because of cyber bullies.
“It’s been a tough few days for Elise but I’m confident she will bounce back, she’s a very strong and determined character,” said Gilmartin.
“Four years ago she was at her first Olympics and now she’s here making finals and being competitive.
“That is the inspiration for me.”
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