WITH a jeweller for a partner East Lancashire ace Stacey Kemp could be forgiven for expecting more silverware at her second Olympic Winter Games – but she believes she’s simply lucky to be in Sochi.
The 25-year-old suffered a tear to her posterior cruciate ligament in pre-Olympic year – an injury she feared would bring an end to a figure skating pairs partnership with David King.
Kemp and King, who both attended Blackburn College, finished 16th on their Olympic debut at Vancouver 2010 and even got engaged on the night of the closing ceremony but now they had a choice to make – surgery or rest.
They chose rest, 10 weeks in total, and after a tumultuous past 12 months, which also saw them only qualify at the second chance trials while losing their British title, Kemp and King arrive in Sochi.
And, given their build up to their second Olympics in Russia, Kemp insists she and King, a fully-qualifier jeweller before concentrating on their pairs partnership full-time, know to be thankful.
“I tore the posterior cruciate ligament in my left knee last season. At the time it was touch and go whether I needed surgery or if it would recover naturally,” said Chorley’s Kemp.
“But luckily it recovered. I just had to take 10 weeks off the ice. At the time it was really scary because we have trained for what feels like most of our lives and it could just have been over.
“At the British Championships this season we were trying a lot harder elements and it was not quite ready. We wanted to keep it the same as we what we plan to do in Sochi just to test it out first.
“We could have played it safe and got our title back but that was not our aim.
“We have had a fair amount of injuries and accidents but you need to test things out.”
After a proposal at the last Olympics in Vancouver, Kemp and King will make further history at Sochi 2014 as Britain compete in the first ever figure skating team event to be held at a Games.
And Kemp, who won eight straight British senior titles prior to this season’s silver with King, insists being in a relationship off the ice does prove an advantage on it.
“There are quite a few couples on the circuit and I do think it helps,” she added. “We do argue but it is usually when one of us is tired and we have had to learn to leave things on the ice.”
Unlike Vancouver, King and Kemp have two competitions to focus on in Sochi with the Games marking the first inclusion of the team event.
And, rather than bemoan his busier schedule, King can’t wait to help make history.
“The whole team spirit at the moment is great,” he added. “We have grown up together. The rivalry is between us and the other countries at the minute as we are fighting for spaces.”
* The British Olympic Association is the National Olympic Committee for GBR and NI. The BOA prepares the ‘Best of British’ athletes for, and leads them at, the summer, winter and youth Olympic Games. The BOA is dependent upon fundraising income to achieve its mission. www.teamgb.com @TeamGB