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Elise Christie's Suspicious Short Track Crash Is As Frustrating As It Gets

Photo: Harry How/Getty

British speed skater Elise Christie is one of the fastest women in the world on the short track, and she’s probably the most likely athlete to win a gold medal for Team GB in Pyeongchang. She owns the world record in the 500-meter, has a pair of World Championship gold medals, and has won several European championships. However, Christie has never broken through at the Olympics largely due to a spectacular run of bad luck and weird accidents.

Christie was among the favorites in Sochi, though she ended up disqualified from all three of her races.

  • In the 500m, she was ruled responsible for a crash that brought down two of her competitors, and even though she finished second, the judges bumped her back to eighth. Christie said that she was harassed by fans after the crash to the point that she deleted her Twitter account and almost considered quitting speed skating.
  • In the 1000m final, she once again got tangled up in a crash and finished off the podium. Referees claimed she caused the crash, though she denied it and appeared to be taken out by a skater reaching for a gap that wasn’t there.
  • Finally, she was disqualified from a 1500m heat after judges ruled that she skated inside the finish line, therefore not completing the whole course.

It’s about as unlucky as an Olympics can possibly be. After all the dust settled, Christie said she was “confused and heartbroken,” and it’d be impossible to blame her.

After sailing through qualification, Christie reached yesterday’s 500m final with a great shot of winning gold. She and Choi Min-jeong swapped the Olympic record back and forth throughout qualification, only for both women to miss out on medals. Christie’s hand appears to have been kicked out from under her by Dutch skater Yara van Kerkhof as she drifted towards the outside. The contact was enough to send her sprawling. Christie finished fourth, skating in alone.


Afterwards, Christie was tearful and devastated:

“I was knocked over, I didn’t fall on my own. I’ve worked so hard for the 500 and it was taken away from me.”

“It’s out of my control. I got knocked over and that’s that. When it’s something you’ve worked on, for someone to knock you over, it seems so least I can go home and think I didn’t make any mistakes but it still sucks.”

Photo: Richard Heathcote/Getty

Thankfully, Christie still has a chance to medal in the 1000m and 1500m, and after all she’s been through in Sochi and Pyeongchang, she’ll be easy to root for. The 1000m is her best distance, and it would be the perfect race for Christie to redeem her shitty Olympics. “Hopefully, I can come back again, I can reset, I’ve got a week until my best distance,” she said. “But right now I can’t see living with this feeling.”

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