Speed-skater Natalie Crawford

2017 has been a fantastic year so far for speed-skater Natalie Crawford from Nottingham. 

What is the best and worst thing about your sport? 
The best thing about my sport is it is very unique. Nobody really hears of it, so it is very intriguing to others when you talk to them about it. As it is unique there are a lot of opportunities and competitions. Within the sport you get to make many life-long friends and training partners, who spur each other on. I would say there aren’t a lot of negatives in the sport. A minor one may be having to sharpen your skates before every training session however, you do get used to it and maybe the technicalities of the sport too. It takes a lot of practice on and off the ice to get it right. It may take a while but once you have gotten the hang of it, it’s a real accomplishment. 

What is your best achievement this year? 
My best achievement this year would have to be getting picked to represent Team GB at the European Youth Olympics in Erzurum, Turkey, February 2017. It was an experience that I will never forget. Followed by gaining overall second place at the British Championships in April 2017.

What does your normal day and week look like?
My normal day and week would consist of going to school 8:45-3:05PM. On a Monday, I train on the ice in the evening. On a Tuesday, I train at the rink doing ice specific exercises (off the ice) in the morning, and then I participate in a weight session at my athletics club in the evening. On a Wednesday, I either have a rest day or go on a run or participate in ice specific exercises at the rink. On a Thursday evening, I go down to my athletics club (Harvey Hadden) and I do a sprint session for an hour and a half. On a Friday in the evening, I speed skate on the ice. On a Saturday morning, I train on the ice, and on a Sunday I either have a rest (depending if I had one earlier in the week), or train on the ice at Sheffield, go on a bike ride or train in the gym.

What do you enjoy most about being a sportsperson?
I feel the best thing about being a sportsperson is the achievements that come with it. It really does show that hard work does pay off and as well not just making myself proud but my family as well. Being a sportsperson allows me to meet new people within the sport and have close relationships with my coaches and the people who train alongside you. Seeing the benefits of training and sport on my performance and body.

What would you do if you weren’t into sports?
If I wasn’t a sportsperson, I would probably be stuck on what to do in my spare time, except school work (more than I do now.) I would like to think that I would still be active and keep up my health. 

Who is your sporting hero?
My sporting hero is Charlotte Gilmartin, who is also a speed skater for Great Britain. Charlotte took up speed skating at around the age that I took speed skating up (about 14), and has shown that even with a late start in this sport, you can still achieve your highest potential and possibly get to the Winter Olympics and World Championships. 

Where is your favourite place to compete?
My favourite place to compete is Erzurum in Turkey, the ice rink was in a setting you couldn’t imagine, surrounded by snow and mountains. It was very surreal. The ice itself was in a perfect condition and I could really tell the difference in my times and skating ability. 

If you could win one competition what would it be and why?
At this point in time, if I was to win a competition I would like to win the British Championships someday. I have just moved up age categories to Junior B so next year I will race Junior A and B. This will take a lot of work to eventually get there. This is because as I started speed skating later than other skaters, it will show that I have the ability to be able to race with them. In the long term, it would be great to win an Olympic medal or World Championship medal, as I think for any athlete that this is the pinnacle of their career as a sportsperson.

What is your favourite thing to do when you have some down-time?
When I have down-time I do enjoy going to the cinema with friends and taking my dog on a walk around the woods.

Have you ever had an injury?
Fortunately, I have had no major injuries as of yet in my sport. 

Are you good with money? 
As I have gotten older I would say I am good with money and I am starting to understand the importance of saving.

What sort of things have you spent your SportsAid grant and fundraising on? 
I have spent a proportion of my SportsAid grant on some glasses for my speed skating and a proportion helped fund my recent skating trip to Scotland. I am currently saving the rest along with my Nottingham County Council funding to afford a pair of Apex Speed Skating boots, which will allow me to progress even further in my sport. I am roughly about £800 off these.

How did you hear about SportsAid?
I have always known about SportsAid, but I only really got involved when my governing body nominated me for the SportsAid award. 

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