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Dave Ryding's jet-heeled exploits are helping speed skater Niall Treacy gear up for Winter Olympic lift-off, writes Will Jennings.
‘The Rocket’, 35, became the first British alpine skier to win World Cup gold on Saturday and alongside Treacy, will form part of Team GB’s finalised 50-strong squad set for Beijing.
Nottingham-based Treacy, 21, is at the opposite end of his sporting career but loved watching Ryding make history by being crowned slalom king in Kitzbuhel.
Treacy secured his Olympic debut after a similarly stunning performance at the Hungary World Cup and hopes absorbing ‘inspirational’ Ryding’s insight can fire him to success in China.
Treacy, who takes to the Beijing ice in the 1000m event on February 5th, said: “It’s super inspirational.
“Dave is 35 and he’s at the top of his game – that’s incredible. To be the first British athlete to get the gold in the alpine is so incredible, especially just before the Games.
“It’s absolutely perfect timing. He’s been the first one to set the example – it’s been on Team GB’s social media all over the place and it’s the example of what the expectations are for a lot of the people going and looking to medal at these Games.
“Having that sort of environment really boosts your own performance. To have somebody like that at his age and the leader of the group who’s been to multiple Olympics, it’s good to have people like Dave in the team.
“Dave’s in the third village whereas we’re in the city, so I’m not sure if we’ll be allowed to see other sports. But there’s no doubt if I get the chance, I want to go and watch him, those guys and people like Dave.
“Hopefully he can replicate what he did this weekend out in Beijing.”
Treacy’s Olympic chances were hanging in the balance until a searing fourth-place finish at a World Cup event in Debrecen catapulted him into contention.
That result secured him British Olympic Association (BOA) standard and after another solid display in Dordrecht, Holland, his place in the Chinese capital was secure.
Treacy will form part of a three-strong short track speed skating team alongside brother Farrell, 26, and Kathryn Thomson – both of whom competed for Team GB at PyeongChang 2018.
Another bucket list day ✅
Getting the Team GB Beijing Winter Olympic kit for the first time was so special.
Unbelievable amount of pride!
I loved the kit so much I had to put it all on at once 😂 pic.twitter.com/8be8WyBCPG
— Niall Treacy (@NiallTreacy1) January 20, 2022
There’s now just ten days to go until the Games’ Opening Ceremony and Treacy, whose career on the ice is supported by Entain – owner of Ladbrokes and Coral – and SportsAid, added: “It still doesn’t feel real.
“It still sort of hasn’t set in – the biggest thing that made it sink in more was getting the kit last week, which I’m still wearing now. That started to make it feel a lot more real – and it was like: ‘this is the Beijing Winter Olympic kit.
“It’s starting to feel more different and not just like a normal training day – the excitement is building.
“It’s now only a few days until we actually leave – it’s really getting there. I’ve always wanted to race at the Olympic Games – that’s the top of my list. I just need to make sure I soak it all in when I’m there.
“Just to go out for Team GB and do this at the Winter Olympics will be insane.”
Entain, owner of Ladbrokes and Coral, is proud to be championing the next generation of British sporting heroes by providing talented young athletes with financial support and personal development opportunities in partnership with SportsAid. Visit entaingroup.com to find out more