Winter’s arrival may leave many quaking at the thought of cold, dark nights, but for short track speed skating star Olivia Weedon, it marks the start of a busy yet exciting season on the ice.
But for the 14-year-old, a great challenge has already been overcome after she sustained a serious injury on a training camp in August, just weeks before the new campaign got underway.
However, thanks to her dedication to her recovery, Weedon, who attends St. Catherine’s School in Twickenham, is back on the ice and raring to show what she is made of.
And although a recent competition in Italy didn’t go exactly the way she had wanted, it has provided her with a much-needed confidence boost as she continues to compete against the best in the business.
“This season has been a bit of a bumpy ride so far, because I sustained an injury just before it started,” said Weedon, who benefits from being part of the SSE Next Generation programme.
“I was at a training camp in Sheffield and I fell over and went feet first into the barrier. I actually broke my skating boot so I’m having to borrow someone else’s until I get my new ones which should hopefully arrive around December time.
“I tore the ligament in my ankle, but thankfully I have recovered from that and I’ve just come back from a competition last weekend in Italy.
“I placed ninth overall so I just missed out on a top eight place but you learn from your mistakes and I’ll go into the next competition that little bit stronger.
“Because of the injury, I was a bit scared going into the competition, I thought I was going to come last and it just wasn’t going to happen for me because everyone would be stronger than me.
“But when I got to the competition, I realised that actually, I had recovered properly, I had put the effort into my recovery and it had worked, and that I could be competitive with the top people.”
Despite having already overcome a potential derailment to her season, Weedon has clear aims for the year ahead.
And she has no doubt than she can achieve her goals, starting with the next competition on her ever-growing schedule.
“This season, I want to get to the Europa Cup Final. I’ll go to three competitions this year called Star Class, and if I finish in the top eight overall, I’ll qualify for this competition,” she said.
“That means I will get to race all over Europe, as well as parts of Asia. I definitely think I am capable of qualifying, especially coming out of the competition in Italy.
“Before, I was worried if it was a step too far for me, but now I know I can do it.
“I’ve got a competition in about three weeks in Germany, which is one of the Star Class competitions. I’m really looking forward to it and I’m going to make sure I train really hard before so that I’m at the top of my game.”
SSE’s Next Generation programme partners with SportsAid to provide financial support and training to the sports stars of the future. Keep up to date with the latest @SSENextGen