Speeding into his second Olympics – Daniel Greig ready to race
18 February 2018
SPEED SKATING: Daniel Greig says he’s ready to give it everything when he kicks off his Olympic campaign in the men’s 500m race tomorrow.
The 26-year-old comes into the Games on the back of a remarkable recovery from extensive injuries, and will skate first, paired with Japan’s Tsubasa Hasegawa.
It’s a tough start for Greig; Hasegawa is considered an up-and-coming star of the speed skating scene, placing 6th at last year’s World Single Distances Championships, compared to the Aussie’s result of 23rd.
But Greig, who trains in the Netherlands, isn’t daunted, saying he’s been slowly returning to peak fitness.
“I haven’t hit the results that I hit pre-Sochi Olympics, mainly because my task was getting fit again rather than achieving results,” he said.
“My results have been steadily climbing throughout the season and I feel like I am peaking at just the right time.
“I still have a lot of exercises that I need to do, but I’m just as fit as any of the other guys I’m competing against.
“I don’t think anyone out there has a massive advantage over me in terms of fitness, but I am up against people for whom skating is a natural thing, and they didn’t have to move overseas to practice the sport.”
And relocating to the other side of the world isn’t the only sacrifice Greig has had to make, in his quest to skate at his second Olympic Games.
The former champion inline skater admits he often thought about quitting, during an extended and painful rehabilitation process after surgery to both knees in 2014.
“If I didn’t have the goal of making it to these Olympics I wouldn’t have kept going with all the physiotherapy and all the exercises,” Greig said. “If my goal wasn’t as big as the Olympic Games, I don’t think I would have had the motivation to get through the months of pain.”
Arriving almost two weeks before his first competition, Greig has been using the time to settle in, and get used to the competition ice.
“The venue is fantastic and I’m feeling at home here,” he said. “It’s a fantastic set up and I think the times are going to be really quick.”
“I have high goals for myself - I think I can make the top ten. But whatever happens I’m really ready to just enjoy being here and make the most of it.
“I know I’ve worked so hard for this moment.”
Unlike short track skating, the long track results are based on time performance only, meaning there are no elimination phases.
Greig will also compete in the men’s 1000m event on Day 14 (February 23).