HUDDERSFIELD cross-country skier Fiona Hughes has already got her sights firmly set on her next target after her first-ever run-out in the Olympic Games.
The 19-year-old from Lindley made both her World Cup and Olympic debut within 10 days of each other, but is now keen to move on.
“I will definitely be racing in Finland over Easter, whether I go to Slovenia before then for a junior Continental Cup race I need to have a bit more of a look into,” admitted Hughes.
“But it is definitely not the end of the season for me,” insists Hughes, who says the road to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi begins now after making her debut four years earlier than expected.
Hughes has spent the past four years competing mainly on the junior circuit but has enjoyed a life-changing month since being announced as part of Britain’s 52-strong team in Vancouver.
She made the short trip from Alberta to British Columbia hopeful of improving on her 10km freestyle finish but saw any hope of that denied by Bulgarian Teodora Malcheva, when she tripped on Malcheva’s skis on the final corner.
But she admitted lightning won’t strike twice in Russia in four years time.
“I’ve just tried to treat everything that has happened over the past month or so like it was a normal competition,” said Hughes.
“Obviously it has been hard at times because of how big the crowd is, the amount of press interest and all the security, and that makes you realise how good the World Cup and Olympics are.
“I knew I would be young at these Games but I was confident I could do well. In Sochi I will be four years older and have four years more experience.
“It will be a lot of hard work but all the people on the British team are close and we spend a lot of time through the winter together.
“The season isn’t over for us just because the Olympics is finished, and there is a lot of preparation needed to be done for what is ahead.”
The Huddersfield teenager will return home, along with the rest of her British teammates on March 1, but it won’t be long before she is back on her skies.
She is yet to finalise her plans between now and the end of the season but admitted whatever she competes in (junior or senior) she will be better for her Olympic experience.
“When I get back in March I will go home for a few days and sort out all the masses of kit I’ve got and get over the jet lag before going out again,” she added.
“I’m not entirely sure where I’ll be going at the moment, I am still looking into a few races but I have learned a lot from being in Canada and intend on putting it into practice.”
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