09 December 2022

Guest blog: Charlotte Gilmartin – turning failure to success

June 21, 2017

In todays #WSW17 guest blog, speed skater Charlotte Gilmartin talks about dealing with failure and working out how to win ahead of next years Winter Olympics.Charlotte-500-comp

After gaining my first ever World Cup medal in 2015 I was super excited to get underway with the 2016/17 Season. The extra self belief from the previous success and another hard summer of injury free training had left me feeling positive. There are 6 World Cups in each season and these started well. I made the A final in each of the four events in the 1500m back to back, but frustratingly each time I came away without a medal.

However, In January, I had a breakthrough and was really proud to pick up a European Championship medal in the 500m (my favourite event). This gave me an extra lift leading in to the last two World Cups of the season and I was determined to make these count. That I did, winning a 1500m bronze medal  in Dresden, Germany and my first 1000m bronze medal in Minsk, Belarus. I was over the moon and travelled home in high spirits.

As an athlete striving for perfection you always want more – to be faster – to win gold, so my sights were firmly set on the the World Championships in March. It is the pinnacle of the season for speed skaters, and at this point it was only a few weeks away.

The build up was perfect off the back of two medal winning world cups and skating personal bests in training. The competition was in Holland and all my family had come out to watch for the first time. I was ready!

However short track can be unpredictable. I came away with 2 penalties (DQ) and was knocked out in the other event. A disappointing finish to what had been my most successful season. I felt I had let people down and it was really hard to swallow. The short flight home felt like it took forever.

The British Championships in Nottingham took place 2 weeks later. I usually love racing at home where friends and family can come to watch the action, but I was still feeling the disappointment from the World Championship and unsure I could take another failure.

Luckily we have a great support system within the GB Short Track team and I’m lucky to have the best family. They convinced me one competition isn’t everything and I needed to pull my socks up and jump back in. I did just that and remembered why I loved racing. It’s so exciting because its unpredictable, which can take you on an emotional rollercoaster, but racing on a fine blade at high speeds trying to out wit your opposition is what I love. I became the British Champion in all 3 of the individual distances picking up the overall champion title for the 2nd time in my career. To top it off, I won the mixed relay with my club the Mowhawks (Solihull).


This is the lesson I am taking into the coming Olympic season. Only worry about what I can control and remember why I started skating and what I love about it. Once I enjoy racing, I race with freedom and no pressure, and the results will follow.

We have an exciting season coming up and aside from individual ambitions, we are hoping to qualify the first ever GB female relay team to the Olympics –  we have the world champion, Elise Christie on our team and we’re all working really hard as a squad – so watch this space!

We hope this excitement and progress continues to gain momentum and inspire young women to join the sport and continue to build on the success. So If anyone is interested, now is a great time to do it – find out more about GB Short Track Speed Skating team here: www.gbshorttrack.org.uk

Follow Charlotte at:
T: @cpgilmartin
I: @cpgilmartin

Charlotte Gilmartin, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine


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