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Kerry skates through pain and pressure to lock in Sochi debut

Author imageAOC28 Sep 2013
Kerry skates through pain and pressure to lock in Sochi debut

FIGURE SKATING: Brendan Kerry's star has continued to rise, with the young figure skater placing eighth at the Olympic Qualifying Event in Germany to lock in his spot at the Sochi 2014 Games – in spite of a suspected broken wrist sustained more than a day ago in warm-up.

FIGURE SKATING: Brendan Kerry's star has continued to rise, with the young figure skater placing eighth at the Olympic Qualifying Event in Germany to lock in his spot at the Sochi 2014 Games – in spite of a suspected broken wrist sustained more than a day ago in warm-up.

Kerry aced his short program yesterday with a personal best of 67.97 – positioning the 18-year-old at the top of all 28 men seeking Olympic qualification.

His strong short program meant he was the fourth last skater to complete his free routine. The pressure of being in the last group of skaters for the first time at this level of competition showed in Kerry's routine, displaying some minor mistakes and popping a jump.

"I felt like a mess today," Kerry said after the event. "In practice today I popped so it was stressful. I was really nervous. I kept thinking about my friends in Riverside in California and this little competition we all have - to see who can get the most amount of jumps done in the long [program]. I feel pressure from that daily and that helped with today's event."

Showing his rapidly developing maturity, Kerry worked through the nerves, and the pain of his throbbing wrist – to score a new overall personal best score of 188.67, more than 18 points better than he achieved at the recent Junior Grand Prix in Latvia.

The score placed Kerry as the fourth highest athlete seeking qualification, well and truly inside the top-six he needed. When the realisation dawned on him, Kerry's face lit up as he said "I'm going to be an Olympian! I don't think it's hit me yet."

Kerry, who will be 19 at the Sochi Games, follows in the footsteps of his mother Monica MacDonald who competed at Calgary 1988 in ice dancing.

"I almost cried when the results came up - I'm so proud of Bren," MacDonald said from Poland where she has been coaching at a Junior Grand Prix.

"The men's event was always going to be tough, but he did what he needed to do. I never doubted that he would make it to Sochi even when others did. He is such an inspiration to our local kids, spending most of his career at home in Sydney training, to go out and compete amongst the best in the world and make it. I am a very proud mum and very proud to have been part of his journey."

"I couldn't be more proud," his father Darren Kerry also added.

Kerry was coached by MacDonald in his formative years, before making the move at the end of the 2012 season to train under revered coach Tammy Gambill in Riverside, California.

All eyes will now look to the ice dance pair of Danielle O'Brien and Greg Merriman who will compete in the free program at 1.59am AEST Sunday. Also coached by MacDonald in their youth, O'Brien and Merriman are hoping to become the second Australian couple after their former coach to compete in ice dancing at the Olympics.

In the previous day's competition, Brooklee Han produced a stellar performance in the ladies' individual event>>>. In a nod to the young skater's wonderful performance, she was chosen to perform in the exhibition to close the event.

Fact box on Australia's Olympic history in men's individual figure skating:

Adrian Swan (10th) - Oslo 1952
Allan Ganter (13th) - Cortina d'Ampezzo 1956
Charles Keeble (16th) - Cortina d'Ampezzo 1956
William Cherrell (18th) - Squaw Valley 1960
Tim Spencer (17th) - Squaw Valley 1960
Billy Schober (DNF) - Innsbruck 1976

Cameron Medhurst (19th) - Sarajevo 1984
Cameron Medhurst (19th) - Calgary 1988
Cameron Medhurst (16th) - Albertville 1992

Stephen Carr (18th) - Lillehammer 1994
Anthony Liu (25th) - Nagano 1998
Anthony Liu (10th) - Salt Lake City 2002
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