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Stacey sets sights on a flight to Sochi
STACEY Kemp admitted she is relieved to have all but booked a place in the Winter Olympics in Sochi next year.
The Chorley skater and partner David Kemp will have to defend their British title in the national championships before they can be officially unveiled as the GB pairs skaters entry.
But considering Kemp and King have won the national title for the last eight years, a place on the plane to Russia looks certain.
The pair, who got engaged after the Winter Olympics in Vancouver in 2009, made sure Britain had a place in Sochi after a make-or-break performance in Oberstdorf – the last chance for pairs hoping to reach the Winter Olympics.
But Kemp, who learnt to skate at Blackburn Arena, and King saved their best performance of the season for when it mattered most.
“We skated a personal best overall score which meant we secured Team GB an Olympic spot at Sochi,” said the former Blackburn College fashion student. “We came in first place out of the 16 teams trying to qualify.
“That was an incredible result for us after our unlucky season last year with injuries.
“When we found out, we were ecstatic that all the hard work and determination we had shown had paid off.
“We were so excited and now we are looking forward to our journey up to and at the Sochi Games.”
Kemp and King, who is from Cumbria, have won a total of 10 consecutive British titles which includes two at junior level.
So next month’s nationals should be a formality.
“We are relieved to know that we have qualified a spot for Great Britain eventhough we can’t be officially named until after the national championships.
“But as long as we win our nationals we can enjoy our training and the road to Sochi.
“So there are some very exciting times ahead.”
Kemp says competing in Sochi would be even more special than their Olympic debut in Canada three years ago considering the injuries problems both have suffered in recent years.
She said: “We had a very unfortunate season last year and leading up to the qualifying event.
“So it does make it feel that extra bit special because we knew that if we didn’t recover fully we may not have had the chance to go to Sochi. Competing in any Olympic Games is amazing because the battle to get there is incredible and only a small number of athletes actually get the chance.”
Kemp also revealed that they could also compete in a new figure skating team event which will be introduced in Sochi.
“It’s pretty similar to how the gymnastics team event works,” she added. The top 10 teams in the world get to compete in this event.
“At the moment we are ranked in eighth place. We have qualified a pair, lady and a dance team already.
“Unfortunately, our man hasn’t qualified yet but if you are only one short then you can take a wildcard.
“So for this to happen, we have to make sure we stay in the top 10 and earn as many points from competitions this season to stay in with a fighting chance for a place in the team event.
“If all goes well and GB do get to compete as a team, we will be in two different figure skating events and skate four times instead of the usual two in previous Olympics.
“It’s very exciting as it is the first ever time this event will be held. So everyone is looking forward to it.”
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