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Kersten leaves everything on the ice for best GB Olympic speed skating result since 1976

You have to go back over 40 years to find an Olympic result to match that of Cornelius Kersten in the 1500m yesterday.

His 19th place finish in the National Speed Skating Oval in Beijing is the best GB speed skating performance since Archie Marshall came 15th in the 500m in 1976.

Kersten was the first male speed skater to represent Team GB in 30 years when he took to the ice, realising a childhood dream as he did so.

Speaking after the race he said: "It means the world to me. I've said before that it's a childhood dream come true to be here.

"At that start line I was a bit emotional as well. I was thinking back to everything we'd worked for.

"And also, just helping to put long track back on the map [for Team GB] again, I'm really proud to be able to do that.

Ellia Smeding, his girlfriend and business partner, had just 24 hours before become the first female speed skater to represent Team GB in 42 years finishing 27th in the 1500m.

Kersten added: "Being able to go through this experience with Ellia makes it even more special."

The 27-year-old went into the 1500m with a ”gameplan” that saw him power round the 400m track with a particularly strong start.

"It was just a really nice way to start off my races at these Games. For what I'd planned, that all worked out so I was really happy about that.

"The last lap just hurt a bit more than I expected it to do. But it's all good."

"On the ice today, I left everything there. I can honestly say I couldn't have done anything faster than that today. That's the goal I have for every race."

He will race again on 12th Feb in the 500m and 18th Feb in the 1000m.

Kathryn Thomson and Farrell Treacy are back in action today in the short track speed skating, with the first Team GB figure skaters Lilah and Lewis just three days away from competition.


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