Meet the DMU student training for the 2022 Winter Olympics

Professional short track speed skater and De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) student Farrell Treacy is training for a coveted spot on Team GB for the 2022 Winter Olympics.


Thanks to DMU’s flexibility and support, the 2019 Short Track World Cup mixed relay bronze medallist and 2018 Winter Olympic competitor is pursuing a gruelling schedule of training and trials in the hopes of qualifying for Beijing 2022.

Currently training in the USA, Farrell will soon be heading to China for a test event. Following that, he will attend World Cup trials in Japan and European Championship trials in Germany, which will determine his 2022 Olympic fate.

The 26-year-old from Solihull said: “For the 2018 Olympic Games my target was to finish in the top 16 and I came 14th. This time around I’ve had four years of injury chaos, as I’ve been recovering from a broken leg and ankle, a twisted knee, damaged ligaments and hip surgery.

“I don’t want to limit myself though because during my healthy spells I’ve been doing really strong times and competing at a high standard. There’s always the chance of a medal as its short track speed skating and anything can happen.”


While Farrell has been actively training and competing from a young age, since a school friend introduced him to the sport, he has increasingly become conscious of his future beyond life as a professional athlete.

It was during an event hosted by UK Sport and Life After Professional Sport, a careers platform for elite athletes, that Farrell decided to apply for DMU’s Sport Management MSc after meeting programme leader Dr Heather Dichter.

“I always thought education could be the next step for me, but Heather really helped me to weigh up my options and I was lucky enough to be accepted onto the MSc in October 2020,” said Farrell.

“Because I was recovering from my hip operation, and due to Covid-19, I was on a less intensive training schedule, which allowed me to adjust to the course workload a bit easier. Rehabilitation is mentally hard, so having an external outlet helped to keep me motivated and sane.


“Studying while training can be incredibly challenging, but DMU’s online learning and flexibility around my last-minute training schedule changes has definitely made it achievable for me.

“The biggest shock for me is how well I’m doing. This is my first return to full-time education since I started my professional sporting career at 16, so I was pleasantly surprised to find it all quite natural and well within me. I always knew it would be demanding but it’s also a fantastic opportunity.”

Dr Heather Dichter, Associate Professor of Sport Management and Sport History at DMU, said: “Our Sport Management MSc is for students from a variety of backgrounds, introducing them to several areas of the sport industry so they can build on their knowledge and experience, as well as consider the industry more widely.

“Whether a student wants to give back to their own sport or work in a broader area such as sport marketing, for example, we help them to tailor their studies to achieve their career goals.”


With his government funding terminated after Team GB returned from the 2018 Winter Olympics empty-handed, Farrell was grateful to qualify for a DMU Sport Scholarship, an initiative which enables students to both reach their sporting potential and succeed in their academic studies.

He said: “Losing my government funding was difficult and there were periods when I’d been really short for money. The financial support from DMU has helped me to focus more on my speed skating, allowing me to keep training and competing.

“I’ve been overwhelmed by how understanding everyone at the university has been. DMU really does give extra help and consideration to students who are athletes and for that reason, I’d recommend my course to anyone.”

David de-Beger, Sport Performance Manager at DMU, said: It’s great to see how the DMU Sport Scholarship scheme has supported Farrell over the past year while he pursues a spot at Beijing.

“We support our student athletes through a bespoke holistic programme, enabling them to reach their sporting potential while allowing them to succeed in their academic studies. As part of this our scholars receive a cash bursary, strength and conditioning sessions, lifestyle support, educational workshops, nutrition and psychology guidance and free access to our sporting facilities.”

Posted on Friday 15 October 2021

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