It was a day of mixed emotions for Coleraine’s Jenna McCorkell as the curtain came down on her Winter Olympics campaign.
The 27-year-old was looking to banish the bad memories of her first Games four years ago in Vancouver when she fell three times in the short programme and finished 29th.
This time McCorkell didn’t fall, she skated clean, but her efforts proved not quite enough to see her through to the free skate, as she agonisingly finished one place and 0.22 points short of the cut.
Fifth up of 30 competitors at the Iceberg Skating Palace, McCorkell produced a performance that drew a score of 48.34 points - higher than the mark awarded to two of those who had been on before her and the very next skater.
It also bettered the score awarded to two further athletes, but otherwise, she continued to slip down the standings and eventually finished in 25th, directly below the top-24 qualification cut-off point.
As far as her future in the sport is concerned, McCorkell said just prior to the start of the Sochi Winter Games that she would make a decision on her future after next month’s World Championships, and she looks set to call time on a career in which she has accumulated 11 British titles.
She will look back on this competition with a degree of disappointment at not securing the chance to perform her free routine, but McCorkell insisted she was pleased with her display, feeling satisfied that the demons of her Olympic debut had continued to be exorcised.
McCorkell was “over the moon” with her first taste of Olympic action since those Games, her short programme display in the new team event early in the Sochi schedule which earned her a season’s best score of 50.09.
“I skated the best I could and I performed all the elements, so I’m not disappointed,” she said.
“I think the points were a little bit affected just by the second mark, but I had a feeling they would be because I had a pretty bad draw, starting in the first group.
“The triple toe wasn’t as perfect as it possibly could have been, but it was there, it was done - I didn’t fall. I did my best, so I was pleased with it.” She added: “I have proved it twice now, so that Vancouver cloud can go away and leave me alone! It is always one of those that is going to hang over you and it has been playing on my mind a little bit.
“Having the team event (in which GB failed to make it to the free skate as well), it was really great for me to be able to get out there on the Olympic ice under that pressure and really put down what I had to do.
“Then again today, a little cloud was coming back a little bit this morning, and it took a bit of work to push it away again.”
Defending Olympic champion Kim Yu Na came first with a score of 74.92.