- UK Sport Investment 2010-14 (Sochi): £174,338
- UK Sport Investment 2006-10 (Vancouver): £496,000
- Number of Podium Funded Athletes: 0
- Number of Podium Potential Funded Athletes: 2 - Penny Coomes, Nicholas Buckland
- Sochi Performance Target: Top 10 Finish
The Sochi Journey
Competing at their first Olympic Games in Vancouver 2010 aged 20, Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland finished 20th. The ice dancers had only recently moved to the USA to train with coach Evgeny Platov, a two-time Olympic, four-time world and three-time European champion.
In the following years, the partnership started to pay dividends, with Coomes and Buckland’s results on the international stage steadily increasing. In the 2011-12 season, the British pair achieved sixth place at the European Championships and 14th at the World Championships. UK Sport recognised their potential and in the summer of 2012, started investing in their future.
“To be able to be Lottery funded takes so much pressure, worry and stress away from us and we can concentrate on our training and reaching the goals set for us. We’re very lucky and very appreciative.” – Penny Coomes
The following season, and with the backing of National Lottery support, Coomes and Buckland improved further still, with respective fifth and 13th place finishes at the European and World Championships, achieving the qualifying standard for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games in the process.
However, the Road to Sochi has been far from straightforward; in October 2013 Buckland received the unwelcome news that he needed to undergo a heart procedure to correct his racing heart, a condition that was potentially dangerous to his health. With the support of UK Sport, Buckland was able to see a specialist and have the surgery quickly, meaning he could return to the ice and continue to prepare to compete at Sochi 2014.
Signalling his return to full fitness and starting 2014 in fine form, Buckland and Coomes achieved a personal best score of 158.59 at the European Championships in Budapest, winning a bronze medal, just weeks before the start of Sochi 2014.