EAST Lancashire ice skater Stacey Kemp is staying focused ahead of next month’s Winter Olympics in Russia, even if it means sacrificing a top-10 placing at the European Championships.
Chorley’s Kemp and partner David King will represent Great Britain in Russia next month but before then comes the chance of European glory in Hungry next weekend.
But Kemp, 25, is determined to peak for the Olympics and as such is using next week’s Championships in Budapest to fine tune her preparations.
“Obviously we want to skate well, but it’s not where we want to peak. Two solid skates would be great, but obviously we want to save our very best for the Olympics,” said the former Blackburn College student.
“The Europeans is going to be a stepping stone for the Olympics. It’s a great warm up competition just before Sochi. It will give us a great guide on the small thing we still need to tweak and perfect to get us ready for Sochi.
“We want a good championships and we want to skate well, but it is a stepping stone before we want our peak.”
Kemp believes the timing of next week’s championships will have an effect on the overall result, but insists she never thought twice about not competing in what will be her ninth European Championship appearance.
She added: “It is more difficult this year focusing on the Europeans than other years. When all the hype of the Olympics are starting and our past four years of training since Vancouver Olympics have all been aimed towards Sochi. It's still important to us, and we are just focusing on one thing at a time.
“Our main priority at the moment is staying injury free and healthy, so we can perform at our best for Sochi. We have to be sensible in training and look after our bodies.
“Some teams considered not doing Europeans as it was too close to the Olympics for them. We will use it so we can look closely at any changes and things that we still need to tweak before we head out to Sochi.”
Kemp competes in the pairs short program on Friday week before taking part in the pairs free skating event on Sunday, January 19.