After an incredible first season competing at the World Cups for Short Track Speed Skating, Brendan Corey has been named to the Australian Olympic Team at Beijing 2022.
The 24-year-old has qualified in both the 1000m and 500m events for the Olympics, after finishing the World cup season ranked 11th in the world in the 1000m.
Training in Salt Lake City, USA ahead of the Olympics Corey admitted reaching the Olympics has been a dream since childhood.
“Since I was a little boy when I first started skating, I always looked to the Olympics as the goal,” Corey said. “Now I'm here it's a dream come true for me.”
“Going into my first World Cup season in 2021, I just thought to myself, I'm the underdog going in. Having no pressure on me just let me focus, to stay relaxed, because I've been skating for so many years and just let me do my thing and I’m approaching Beijing the same way."
Born in Canada, Corey remembers he stepped onto the ice at a young age but his father's choice of sport was hockey until he admitted all he wanted to do was go fast.
“When I was young my father enrolled me in hockey, but after about a year or so I said, ‘Dad, I don't care where the puck is, I just want to skate fast’.
"We got into speed skating, and I loved it ever since. I started racing older kids, who were a foot taller than me - I got lots of experience chasing them down that helped me to improve quickly."
The 24-year-old hopes that he can help inspire young Australians to get into the sport after seeing him at the Olympics.
“I hope the Aussie fans really enjoy watching short track, it’s so exciting to watch - the speed the strategy, the tight turns and just the feeling of going fast.
"Hopefully, I hope I can help inspire some young Aussies who are watching the Games to take up short track, it’s such a great sport.”
After supporting his ambitions as a child Corey acknowledged how happy his family is for him.
“My mother grew up in Australia through grade school and university as well, before she met my dad in Canada on a university exchange and stayed," Corey said.
"My grandparents are both dual citizens, and it’s been so nice to come back to that heritage and reconnect with my Australian side.
“My parents are just so happy for me, they’re definitely cheering on team Australia. They've known this is something I've wanted to accomplish since I was really young, for them see their little boy all grown up and now able to achieve his dreams, they’re very proud.”
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Of the two events Corey has qualified in the one that will stand out in most Australian's minds is the 1000m short track event, which wrote itself into Australian and Olympic history with Stephen Bradbury's win 20 years ago. The first Gold medal won by an athlete from the Southern Hemisphere at the Winter Olympics.
Geoff Lipshut, Chef de Mission for the Australian Olympic Team for the 2022 Olympics, congratulated the 24-year-old on his selection and stunning season.
“I’m thrilled to welcome Brendan to the Australian Olympic Team for Beijing 2022 today,” Mr Lipshut said.
“Brendan has had an outstanding season, making a World Cup A-final and finishing the season ranked 11th in the world in just his first season is remarkable.
“Congratulations to everyone who has helped Brendan reach today’s milestone, from Ice Racing Australia, his coaching and support staff, family, friends and supporters. It takes a village to raise an Olympian and I know today’s selection reflects on everyone who has helped Brendan become the athlete he is today.”
President of Australian Ice Racing, Frank Anderson said AIR welcomed the announcement and made sure to not put too much pressure on the 24-year-old.
“Brendan is a highly motivated and driven athlete who has worked very closely with not only the National Coach Richard Nizielski, but with the AIR Board to promote the sport of short track speed skating in and for Australia,” Anderson said.
“You only have to see Brendan’s recent results to know that his hard work and commitment to the program set by the National Coach came from a mutual trust between the two; both striving for success for Australia.
“We have deliberately chosen to keep Brendan’s preparation low key as it was his first world cup season and we didn’t want to put pressure on him to achieve results. I know that the only pressure put on Brendan to succeed was by Brendan himself.
“We know that Brendan is prepared to give back to the Australian speed skating community and he is just waiting for the opportunity to do so. Being selected for the 2022 Beijing Team is the first step, we hope, towards a strong future for Australia and Brendan’s skating career.”
The Short Track Speed Skating will commence on February 5 and conclude on February 16 at the Capital Indoor Stadium in Beijing.