Last week, British short track speed skater Elise Christie crashed out of the 500m race and finished fourth in an event she holds the world record, adding another disappointing finish to an Olympic career that’s been waylaid by an avalanche of bad luck. Christie was distraught after her fourth straight Olympic race ended in disaster, though she at least had cause to remain optimistic, as she was in contention for gold in the 1500m and the 1000m, which is her best distance.
Unfortunately, Christie will leave Pyeongchang without a single medal, as her world-historic run of bad luck continued this weekend. Christie made it into the semifinals of the 1500m, and she was in great position to nab one of the two qualifying spots headed into the final lap. However, as she rounded the final corner, she attempted to pass a Chinese skater on the outside and sprint for second place, but she got too close and slammed into the wall.
Not only did Christie miss out on the final of an event where she is the reigning world champion, she was taken to the hospital after injuring her ankle in the crash. Christie spent two days in a walking boot in an attempt to heal up by the 1000m, and while she did take the start line despite suffering ligament damage (which apparently takes six weeks to recover from), she fell almost immediately. “Off the start one of the girls stood on my ankle, which is injured, so I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to skate,” she said. Christie then returned to the start line and finished in second, which seemed to put her through to the next round. But judges reviewed the tape and ruled that she’d made a pair of illegal moves, which earned her a yellow card, instant disqualification, and a sad end to a sad Olympics, as her coach had to carry her off the ice.
Christie will be 31 when the 2022 Olympics start, and while she had initially planned to swap speed skating for another sport, she’s committed to coming back for another go, and if she wins something in Beijing, she’ll have earned it several times over:
“For all the success I’ve had, I can’t let this define me. I can’t even count on two hands how many gold medals I’ve won since Sochi, I’m the world-record holder. I’m going to get myself so strong that I’ll get out in front and get away from everyone and that’ll be the focus now.”