Meet Penny Coomes and Nick Buckland, Britain’s leading ice dance couple
Figure skating is easily one of the most popular events during the Winter Olympic Games. At this point, you’re probably pretty familiar with the 14 amazing athletes on Team USA, but do you know anything about the figure skaters from the other countries? You should — especially considering that some of them could swoop in and take medals from the U.S. (We’re still not over what happened with Alexa Scimeca Knierum and Chris Knierum.) First up: meet Penny Coomes and Nick Buckland, Britain’s leading figure skating pair.
Penny and Nick are no strangers to the Olympics: 2018 will be the third Winter Games the two have competed in together. They qualified for the Olympics after the best score of their career at the Nebelhorn Trophy in Germany.
These two have been through a lot to get here. At 28 years old, they have experienced many obstacles throughout their careers:.Penny had a foot injury that led to reconstructive surgery, and Nick had arrhythmia that led to heart surgery. In June 2016, they went through another devastating injury when Penny had a bad accident while training. She told EuroSport, “I jumped up, but I just gave it a little too much, and rather than landing kneeling on Nick’s shoulders, I ended up falling off the other side and landed directly on my kneecap.”
Penny underwent an operation to repair her fractured kneecap, but the diagnosis wasn’t hopeful. Doctors told her it would be months before she could walk again, even saying she might not be able to skate any time soon. It took five months of intense rehabilitation before she could skate again, but Penny was in constant pain, and wasn’t even sure if she could get through it.
She did, and now the two are at the Olympics, which is pretty amazing. After realizing they needed to change their entire routine, they began training under Christopher Dean, a British Olympic legend, and are now feeling more hopeful.
So, is there a chance these two will place? Nick told Eurosport,
"We're a much stronger team since Sochi, both mentally and physically. We've developed much more of our own style. It's been a tough couple of months as Penny's knee is still recovering, and we've been redesigning the freedance, but when you come to the Games so much can happen. It just depends how everyone else skates, and if we go out there and put in two good performances, we can get high up there. It's always been the goal to get an Olympic medal, it's just that we’re coming at it from a very different place than we imagined."
It’s the Olympics, which means anything can happen, so maybe they have a shot. It’s hard not to root for these two, so keep an eye out for them during the figure skating events.