Speed skater Olivia Weedon may be busy enjoying the off-season, but the hard graft is still coming thick and fast as she prepares to return to the ice this winter.
Ending the season in May, the 14-year-old has been working hard to keep on top of her game, making full use of time away from the cut and thrust of competition.
Admitting that the workload and juggling skating with school is not always the easiest, Weedon is aware of the bigger picture and trying to reach the pinnacle of her sport over the next decade.
“It’s currently the off-season so I’m working on a lot of conditioning and strength, and just making sure that when the season comes, I’m at the top of my game and I can start off the season on a high,” she said.
“We’ve been in intensive training, and at the beginning of August, we’re going to a summer camp in Germany, where I’ll train for a week with different countries and get a feel of their training plans.
“The big dream for me is of course to go to the Olympics and get a medal, which is what everyone hopes for.
“I think Pyeongchang 2018 is too soon for me, so I’m aiming for the Games after in Beijing.”
Such is the talent of Weedon that only age prevented her from stepping up to a new junior camp with GB Short Track Speed Skating, while she also has aims to reach the GB Senior team when she turns 18.
But for now, the Aldwych Speed Club member is gaining her experiences overseas, testing herself against the best around the world on the ice.
“At the moment I’ve just moved up from the top of my age category, but the girl I would race against has gone up to the bottom of the age group above, so now I have no-one to race, apart from the boys, and it’s not really a great environment for them to be racing against a slower person,” said Weedon, who benefits from being part of the SSE Next Generation scheme.
“In speed skating you really have to go abroad to get competitive races. In England there is some competition, but you’re either faster than them, or they’re too old to race against.
“As a result, if you want to get some proper competition, you have to go abroad to find people the same standard as you.”
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