Matthew prepares for Olympic debut in Sochi

North Shields figure skater Matthew Parr is preparing to begin his Winter Olympic challenge today (Thursday).

The 23-year-old member of TeamGB arrived in Sochi on Tuesday ahead of taking part in the short program at the Iceberg Skating Palace today.

Matthew, four time British Men’s Figure Skating champion, will then be part of the British team taking part in the Opening Ceremony tomorrow (Friday).

Matthew, the sole men’s singles figure skating representative at the Sochi Olympics, relocated from Whitley Bay Ice Rink to Dundee Ice Arena eight years ago where he trains with TeamGB coaches Simon Briggs and Debi Briggs.

Writing on social media site twitter after his arrival, Matthew said: “Amazing first day in Sochi!

“Ice rinks looking good and TeamGB have done a great job with the accommodation! Loving life!”

He added: ““Realistically it could be the only time I get to go to an Olympic Games and the only time I will go to Russia.

“I am going out to represent Team GB and represent Britain and that’s the really exciting thing for me.”

Even if Parr does not go on to qualify for future Games, he will always be a history-maker: the first British skater on the ice in the first team event.

“I will be there to support the team in any way possible and just take in as much as I can because it could be a once in a lifetime experience,” he said.

Before he left for Russia, Matthew said: “Dundee Ice Arena have been extremely supportive during the last eight years of training.

“They’ve given me extra ice time and the quality of the ice is probably one of the best I’ve ever skated on.

“Dundee is fortunate to have coaches like Debi and Simon, who have consistently brought through talented local skaters as well as having skaters come from all over the country to train with them at the Dundee Ice Arena.

“The Olympics is the pinnacle for any amateur athlete, so to have to opportunity to represent my country at an Olympic Games is far and away the highlight of my career.”

Matthew’s training mate, Jenna McCorkell, who is the 11 times British Ladies Champion, is also in Sochi competing in the Team Figure Skating Event, and Ladies Singles Event.