Cornelius Kersten will become the first British long track speed skater to compete at a Winter Olympics in 30 years when he lines up at Beijing 2022.
With one month to go until the Games begin, Kersten’s selection has been confirmed as he follows in the footsteps of Craig McNicoll, who was the last Team GB skater to compete in 1992.
Although Britain has made strides in short track, particularly through the now retired Elise Christie, there are no long track arenas in the UK - but Kersten was raised on the rinks in the Netherlands.
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Born to a Dutch father and a British mother, the 27-year-old has excelled over the past few seasons and became the first British athlete in 36 years to record a top 10 finish at a World Cup event when he came ninth in Norway during November.
A series of personal best times saw him finish in 11th place overall, meaning he will compete in the 1000m and 1500m at the Games.
“I’m so happy to be selected for Team GB,” Kersten said.
“It’s incredibly rewarding to know that my hard work has paid off and it’s going to be an honour to stand on the start line in Beijing. All the pieces have come together this year to make my childhood dream come true.”
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The only tinge of disappointment for Kersten may be that his partner, Ellia Smeding, has not been able to earn selection, despite making eye catching improvements. The couple have been building towards the Games together, funded by their Brew ‘22 coffee business.
Speaking to Eurosport in October, Kersten said he had planned to represent GB over the Netherlands: “I’ve always loved watching Team GB perform and seeing them on TV.
“They always seemed like the best, the most beautiful and the strongest team and the connection was always there.”
Jon Eley, the performance and talent manager at British Ice Skating, says Kersten deserves his opportunity to make history.
“Cornelius has had an incredible season and his Olympic selection just caps that.
“We’ve got yet another first time Olympian going to the Games, meaning we now have representation in all our ice skating disciplines. It has been three decades since the last long track speed skater wore the Team GB kit and I know Cornelius will go out and race to his potential.
“His World Cup performances showed what he’s capable of and I’m excited to see him skate on a major stage.”
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