Elise Christie may take up long-track skating after Winter Olympics pain

• Short-track skater will consider doubling up in bid to end jinx
• Briton reveals plan to retire and switch sports had she won gold

Elise Christie will consider moving abroad to take up long-track speed skating – where there are far fewer opponents and crashes than in short track – in a bid to end her Winter Olympics jinx.

Christie also revealed her secret plan to retire and switch to another sport had she won gold. However, after enduring more heartache in Pyeongchang – where she crashed or was disqualified in all three of her events – the 27-year-old has decided to continue and may even double up in short- and long-track at the 2022 Winter Games.

“I probably wanted to retire,” said Christie, who had talks with British Cycling after her disappointment in Sochi four years ago. “I thought I’d medal and then, because I’d achieved what I wanted, maybe I could have a go at another sport.

“My last goal was to be an Olympic champion and there was nothing else to do if I’d achieved that. It didn’t work out and while I’ve thought about other sports, my heart lies with short‑track.”

Doubling up in short- and long‑track would not be unprecedented. The Dutch skater Jorien ter Mors, who won a gold medal in the 1,000m long-track event in Pyeongchang, is also part of her country’s short-track team.

Christie said: “It’s gone through my mind for many years and I’ve done it as part of my training. It’s an easier sport for sure – whoever goes the fastest wins and unless you make a silly mistake you aren’t going to get a penalty.

“Long track isn’t funded so I’d have to move abroad but it’s certainly something that has crossed my mind. It’s a lot to think about but it’s still skating and that’s the sport that I love. It’s not off the cards and I’ll look into it. I still want that Olympic medal in short‑track but I would do both happily.”

Christie also admitted she was still struggling to comprehend her yellow‑card disqualification in her 1,000m on Tuesday after appearing to qualify for the quarter-finals in second place. “I don’t want to throw anyone under a bus at all,” she said. “But when I watch it back, I can’t see what I have been given a yellow card for.

“I know the referee wasn’t keen on me racing in the condition I was in. He spoke after the crash at the start and said: ‘I think it’s better if you get off.’ I think he was worried about my safety. And when I watched it, I didn’t think I looked very comfortable.”

Christie confirmed she had decided to race on with ankle ligament damage because of her desire to win a medal and the support she had received. “It was about: ‘Can I pick up a medal with my ankle?’ I knew the chances were slim but I still believed that I could. I also knew so many people would have been tuning in.

“One person said she named her daughter after me after Sochi and that her daughter had watched me again this time around. I couldn’t believe people were able to see all the rubbish that’s gone on and the bad things that have happened in the public eye, and someone has named their kid after me. That’s insane.”

Christie also confirmed she would not be defending her world championship 1,000m, 1500m and overall titles in Montreal next month. “After this, the first thing I wanted to do is go out and beat the world and I won’t be able to do that,” she said. “But I’m thinking no one can take my titles off me if I’m not there.”


Sean Ingle in Pyeogchang

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