Sochi the last hurrah for speedster Shane
The Winter Olympics will be the last act for Manawatu's Shane Dobbin as a competitive skater.
Dobbin is competing at the games in Sochi, Russia next month in the 5000m and 10,000m speed skating events. He will be retiring after that to start a professional inline skating team with his brother Kalon.
"This is it," Dobbin told the Manawatu Standard from Erfurt, Germany.
"After the games, I don't know if you officially call it retiring or whatever, but I'll be hanging the skates up."
They already have athletes from Europe and South America signed up for the German-based team.
The former professional inline skater said he didn't think he would get the urge to start competing again in either inline or ice skating.
"Not at all. I'll be the guy on the sideline yelling."
But before that, he has a Winter Olympic Games, starting on February 7, to contend with, where he will be part of a small group of New Zealand competitors, likely to number about 12.
Dobbin is based on the Gold Coast in Australia with his wife and two-year-old daughter.
He has been in Germany training since December, having stayed on there since his last world cup event.
Dobbin leaves for Russia at the end of the month, and said he was feeling good about his second Olympics. At Vancouver in 2010, he finished 17th in the 5000m.
"I've been putting in a fair bit of work. There's not really much else I can do."
He has raced on the Sochi ice before, at one of the world cup events last year, which he said made a big difference.
When it comes to medal chances, Dobbin couldn't say if he would be on the podium or not.
"There's three guys that have been pretty well clear of everybody else.
"Three Dutch guys . . . have to be out-and-out favourites and then there's a group of guys, probably about five guys, who will all be going for the four through to whatever in the top 10 spots."
He said he would be giving it his best shot regardless.
Dobbin had hoped to go to the opening ceremony, after missing the Vancouver one because he was competing, but he won't get the opportunity, as he is again racing on the first day, with the 10,000m on February 18.
His father Roy was originally going with him as coach but can't attend any more, so Kalon will be out on the ice in that role instead.
After the games, Dobbin plans to take a break before getting down to work with his new pro skating team.
"I'm definitely going to take six to eight months off. A bit of time at home, and not waking up at the crack of dawn and training my arse off."
Dobbin spends a lot of the year away from home, training in Salt Lake City in the United States or competing in Europe, and only spends a handful of days at home in Palmerston North.