Eley primed for big chance

After his fifth place in Turin, Jon Eley promised he would be 'in his prime' for a medal upgrade in Vancouver - and now the moment has come.


Eley may have painted a target on his back by claiming European silver – but the short track speed skater has backed himself to medal under fire at the Pacific Coliseum, where he took part in his first training session on Thursday.

The 2008 European gold medallist heads to the Winter Olympics with a spring in his step after securing silver in the 500m event in Dreseden last month.

Eley, a former Solihull Barons ice hockey junior, finished an agonising 0.116 seconds behind France's Maxime Chataignier before leading the relay squad to bronze 24 hours later.

And despite putting the skating fraternity on red alert by climbing the podium twice in Germany, Eley insists he can handle the spotlight and end Great Britain's 16-year short track medal drought.

"I've shown the rest of the guys in the sport that I mean business and it's good that they know that," said Eley, whose coach, Nicky Gooch, claimed 500m bronze at Lillehammer 1994.

"I think it sets down a marker not just for myself but also for everyone else in the sport. It makes people notice you and it shows you are in form at the best possible time.

"Perhaps more pressure will come with that and I won't slip under the radar but I'm confident I can deal with that.

"It was a great weekend at the European Championships and I won silver so I'm pleased with that.

"I think with a bit of luck I would have won gold so Europe holds no fears for me heading into the Olympics.

"I definitely believe I can go out there now and claim a medal, definitely.

"If you go into competitions a little uncertain then you never perform to your maximum but I'm going into this competition more confident than I've ever gone into an event before and hopefully that will show.

"The Europeans weren't a big aim for me this season with the Olympics coming so soon after.

"So to finish with a silver, and be so close to gold, is a huge boost for me.

"To put in those performances, both myself as an individual and the team, is very good and we are excited to get out there now and see how well we go.

"The thing with speed skating is that if you make it to the final, then anything can happen."

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