Elise Christie isn’t done yet with the Olympics – indeed she wants to target a medal in two sports in Beijing.
Christie could be forgiven for wanting to turn her back on the five-ringed circus forever.
After Sochi in 2012 and PyeongChang this year, where she has either been disqualified or fallen in six races across 500m, 1000m and 1500m, she admits to occasionally feeling hatred for her sport.
And perhaps that’s why she’s looking at long track speed skating as a safer alternative to the dizzying dash of short track.
It pits skaters against the clock, not each other, and Christie admits she’d consider moving outside the UK to pursue the ambition.
Long track speed skating has been part of the Olympics since 1924 and is considered the sport of skating purists.
Short track is the younger sibling, an aggressive upstart that’s only been part of the Games since 1992, the last time Team GB had a long-track speed skater in Scotland’s Craig McNicoll.
“It’s gone through my mind for many years and I’ve done it as part of my training,” said Christie. “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 is certainly something that has crossed my mind.
“It’s a lot to think about but it’s still skating and that is the sport that I love.
“It’s not off the cards and I’ll be looking into it. If I did do it, I’d probably try and do both long and short track. I still want that Olympic medal in short track because its the only thing I don’t have. I would come back and do both happily.”
Christie’s injury means she will miss the defence of her world titles in Montreal next month but she also claims her passion for the sport has almost been reinvigorated by the events of recent days.
However, she also admits retirement was her plan, had she achieved he dreams here. Now that plan is on a four-year hold.
“I probably wanted to retire, if I’m honest,” she added.
“I thought I’d medal and then I could step back because I’d achieved what I wanted, maybe I could have a go at another sport.
“My last goal in short track is to be an Olympic champion – there was nothing else to do if I’d achieved that here.
“It didn’t work out and, while I’ve thought about other sports, my heart lies with short track. I hate that people see the sport in such a negative light because of what’s happened to me.
“As much as I hate the sport too at some points, I’ve worked so hard to be here and I’m getting better and faster every year. I’ve got four years to make sure I’m on that podium.
“The focus is definitely Beijing. Obviously, there will be speed bumps over the next few months. I still can’t believe that the Olympics has ended like this. This sport deserves something better and, if I can get that medal then more people will want to come and do it and that will breed more medallists in the future.”
Having crashed out of her first two events, Christie tackled the 1000m despite having suffered a bad ankle injury and somehow finished second in her heat only for a yellow card from the judge to end her Games. And, after being trolled four years ago in Sochi, she’s been heartened by the positive messages of encouragement from back home.
“The support back home is what has kept me going,” said Christie. “It has kept my head up.
“I am determined after every message I have received of support that I need to do this. I need to do it for the sport and I want to do it.”
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