Speed skater Christie ‘not over’ Winter Olympics heartbreak

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    Christie disqualified in 1,000m heats

    World and European short track speed skating champion Elise Christie admits she expected to be “at least an Olympic medallist” at this stage of her career.

    Two months on from another agonising Winter Games in Pyeongchang, the Scot concedes she is still coming to terms with her experience in South Korea.

    The triple world champion fell in the 500m final and 1500m semi-finals, and was disqualified from the 1,000m heats in Pyeongchang.

    That followed her disqualification from all three events in Sochi four years ago.

    But the 27-year-old from Livingston maintains she will continue to fight for her Olympic dream, even if her funding is cut by UK Sport.

    “I was pretty sure I would at least be an Olympic medallist,” she told BBC Radio 5 live.

    “I know it’s not everything and I’ve done everything else, but it’s just such a big deal is made out of the Games.

    “Our programme really needed an Olympic medal, so it would have been amazing for short track to have one.”

    Christie, Team GB’s poster girl for the 2018 Games, damaged ankle ligaments in a crash in the 1500m semi-finals, meaning she was far from fully fit when starting the 1,000m heats.

    “It was so difficult because I had to change my blade, I couldn’t tie my skate up, my ligaments and tendons were torn to pieces but I still had that belief in myself and hope,” she recalled.

    Christie was injured after crashing out of the 1500m semi-final, but still attempted the 1,000m

    “I didn’t think I was going to be champion on that ankle at all, but I believed I could still medal because I was that strong.

    “It’s been a tough couple of months getting over it and I wouldn’t say I am over it.

    “I still think when I watch it back now, ‘Where did that yellow card come from?’ The ref was talking to me in the middle, saying he wanted me to get off the ice. He said ‘you are damaging yourself’.

    “I still don’t agree with it, and other people don’t agree with it either. But at the same time, you have to accept it is part of our sport. It is just unfortunate that was the ref for the Olympics and he didn’t like my style.”

    Christie’s failure to deliver a Winter Olympics could have an impact on short track speed skating’s funding, with UK Sport expected to make a decision by the end of June.

    ‘I know I’m a successful athlete’

    But the 500m world record holder says she is not concerned and continues to focus on the next cycle and future success.

    “For the last seven or eight championships I have carried the pressure of medalling for the team,” she said.

    “I think I have got 10 World Championship medals [she actually has 12, including three gold, as well as 17 European Championship medals, 10 of which are gold] so I have not bottled under pressure. I have carried the team in some ways and it has been very hard.

    “But at the end of the day we haven’t had an Olympic medal in a lot of years and that’s not a good position to be in right now.

    “I don’t believe our funding will get cut, and I am thankful for the funding I have had which has allowed me to be successful and inspire youngsters into the sport. It has really helped my career.

    Winter Olympics: Inspiring people ‘as good as any medal’

    “It makes sense, if a programme doesn’t deliver the medals expected, that UK Sport have to question it as they don’t have the funding for every single sport. Only a few of us winter sports get funded.

    “Success is measured by medals but that’s why I won’t judge myself fully on what happened at the Olympics as I have hundreds of medals and world records and I know regardless of what happened, I’m a successful athlete.

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    “I’m not going to go down without a fight; if they do cut our funding I will still fight back – I believe I can win and I’ll do anything to do that now.”

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