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Three-minute cameo still counts as living the dream for Parr

MATTHEW Parr's Olympics may have lasted less than three minutes but he says he will treasure every second.

Ever since his first skating lesson, the 23-year-old has dreamed of competing on the biggest stage and while there is likely to be no encore, he can have no complaints about his personal best score.

The four-time British champion competed in figure skating's team event before the Olympic flame was even lit in Sochi and will only skate again if his team make the top five nations - a tall and improbable order considering they are ranked 10th in the world.

But the Dundee-based Parr did not seem too concerned that his Olympic experience may be over before the Games have officially begun. "It couldn't have gone better for me," said Parr, whose short program score of 57.40 smashed the 49.32 personal best he set at last month's European Championships. "My goal was to get a personal best and I've achieved that, so I'm very pleased.

"Being here is everything I've ever wanted as an athlete and to be able to say I've competed at an Olympic Games for my country is a very proud moment that I will treasure forever.

"The build-up has been intense and it was a nice release to have put in a performance I can be proud of. In years to come I can look back and say I did as well as I could."

Ten skaters took to the ice to open the first figure skating team event to be held at the Winter Olympics and Parr claimed a higher ranked scalp to finish ninth.

He even had the chance to warm-up alongside Evgeni Plushenko, an ageing sporting icon in Russia, whose bid to be selected for these Games was endorsed by no less than President Vladimir Putin.

"I just tried to focus on myself in warm-up and not get too engrossed in the situation because it's quite surreal. I just tried to block everything else out," Parr added.

"I'd like to skate again but either I'll have only fond memories of my time here."

Should Great Britain fail to qualify for the free skate in the team event, which will be decided after tomorrow's next phase, Parr plans on becoming Team GB's biggest fan for the rest of his stay in Sochi. "I'd like to take in as many sports as I can," he said. "It's an opportunity to watch sports you wouldn't normally get to see."

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