Sochi 2014: Figure skater Nick Buckland has heart operation

By Ollie WilliamsBBC Olympic sports reporter
Penny Coomes and Nick Buckland
Penny Coomes and Nick Buckland

British figure skater Nick Buckland has undergone a heart operation only three months before the start of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Buckland, who is set to compete in the ice dance event alongside partner Penny Coomes, revealed earlier this month that he required surgery.

"They found readings that I was told were potentially dangerous," the 24-year-old wrote in his Metro column.external-link

"I was amazed at how soon I was able to get back on the ice."

Buckland has a condition named tachycardia, a heart rhythm disturbance, for which he wears a small device under his skin to monitor heart rate and rhythm.

Readings from this device triggered an alert during a visit to Buckland's local hospital in Nottingham in late October.

"I was told not to skate," he said. "Luckily, when the experts looked at the readings, I was told that my condition was not life-threatening and could be cured by having a certain procedure performed.

"It was thought I had an additional nerve pathway in my heart that was causing a 'short circuit' effect, making my heart race and not stop for sometimes up to half an hour.

"The plan was to go into my heart via tubes inserted in my groin and then cauterise the nerve. It was extremely successful.

"The procedure was minimally invasive which helped me recover quickly. After the last three weeks I never would have thought I'd be sitting writing this blog feeling so positive."

Buckland and Coomes will become the only Britons to feature in this season's Grand Prix series when they compete in Paris this coming weekend.

They qualified for GB at the Sochi Games by virtue of their 13th-place finish at this year's World Championships, having placed 20th on their debut Olympic appearance at Vancouver 2010.