Future Team GB Star? Meeting Short Track’s Ethan Treacy

"After I felt that adrenaline for the first time, all the other sports seemed boring."

While his older brother, Farrell, has been competing at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, Ethan Treacy has been training and watching on intently at home, hoping to one day emulate his brother’s success. Impact went down to the National Ice Centre to speak with Ethan and hear about his path into short track speed skating, what it’s like to be a part of a sporting family and his future academic ambitions.

How did you get into short track speed skating?

ET: I actually started skating because of my older brother [Farrell Treacy]. One day, I saw him skating with his friends and I thought ‘I’d like to give that a go’. And the competitive side of me also said ‘I want to go and beat my brother too’.

What is your favourite aspect of speed skating?

ET: Well, the speed is obviously the key part! Once you do it, it just hooks you in. When I was younger, I played other sports such as football and tennis. But with speed skating, I loved the chaos of it all and the feeling of adrenaline pumping through you. After I felt that adrenaline for the first time, all the other sports seemed boring.

Being only nineteen years of age, you’re one of the younger members of the Team GB squad. How does that feel?

ET: It’s actually quite good. For one, there’s a lot less pressure on me compared to the other athletes. And also, it gives me the opportunity to learn from some of the older skaters such as Elise [Christie], Jack [Burrows] and my brother. They’re such great role models to look up to. And to be training with Elise – a world champion, is just incredible. It gives me inspiration and makes me realise that one day I can get up to her level and achieve that world-class status.

What do you think has been the main benefit of training with the older athletes?

ET: I think that the main one is the little tips and advice that they give me during sessions. When I was younger, I would come into sessions with all guns blazing. But then, a few of them told me to be a bit more reserved and calm. At the end of it, I could see exactly why. I was no longer completely destroyed and lacking in energy like before. So, it’s been really useful to pick up on these little things!

“He’s so professional with his lifestyle and his attitude towards training”

I’m sure having a brother who also skates for Team GB is probably quite helpful too!

ET: Yes, he’s fantastic. He’s so professional with his lifestyle and his attitude towards training, so it’s been great to learn from him. Moving up here to Nottingham and living with him has been a brilliant experience.

But does it not ever get competitive between you two?

ET: Well, naturally it does get quite competitive between us on some occasions, like in training sessions. But, I do know that he’s that step above from me at the moment. I’ll get there one day though.

Farrell Treacy has been skating for Team GB at the PyeongChang Games, featuring in both the Men’s 1,500m and 1,000m. In the 1,500m event, Farrell experienced the tough and unforgiving nature of short track speed skating first-hand, crashing out in the heats. However, he bounced back and went on to secure qualification to the Men’s 1,000m Quarterfinal in second place. In the Quarterfinal, he narrowly missed out on further qualification by the tiniest of margins. Despite this, Farrell produced a performance worth being very proud of in his first Winter Olympics and there is no doubt that he will go on to achieve much more in the coming years.

How does it feel when you see your own brother at the Winter Olympics?

ET: It’s all really exciting. The fact that I can say my brother went to the Olympics is incredible. It’s my dream as well, but just to see my brother do it is equally amazing. These Olympics are more of an experience for him; a chance to experience the crowds, the atmosphere and race with the top guys in the world. So, I’m cheering him on all the way.

Outside of speed skating, you’ve got a few academic plans. Tell us a bit more about these.

ET: Yes, I’m applying to study Industrial Economics at university in Nottingham. I’ve looked at both Nottingham Trent and UoN. At school, Economics was always one of my favourite subjects, so I’m really interested in studying it.

I think that it’s really beneficial to do some studying alongside training. The studying can take your mind off training and give you a break for a couple of hours in the day. I’m also looking forward to getting to interact and meet different people at University.

I’d imagine that being an athlete, you’ll probably have a different experience of university to most of us though. Do you wonder what that’s going to be like?

ET: Yes, I know it’s going to be hard to juggle everything. It’ll be different for me compared to everyone else. I won’t be able to go out and do too much drinking, because I can’t wake up and go skating with a hangover!

Would you rather prioritise your degree or your career in speed skating?

ET: I’ll always be professional and put my skating first. I want to sort that out and then do my degree after. If it doesn’t all go to plan in skating, a degree will still be important in giving me more options in life!

With the Beijing Winter Olympics coming up in 2022, Ethan has clear sporting ambitions to work towards. “I want to win as many medals as I can and be at the world’s elite for at least a couple of years,” Ethan explained. “I’d love to be a dominant performer on the world stage. Hopefully, I make the World Cup teams next year and then, can start racing on the World Cup circuit.” The future certainly looks bright for this youngster, who is full of determination and self-belief. In the years to come, GB will watch to see if he can live up to his own words: “I’m going to go all the way to the top.”

Alex Beaney.

Image: Martin Holtom

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