You’ve got to give it to Elise Christie, she doesn’t do things by half measures.
After the disappointments of Sochi four years go and these Winter Olympics in PyeongChang – falls, disqualifications and injuries – the 27-year old Scot could be forgiven for wanting to do something else.
She had joked she may try skeleton or even track cycling, but there is still unfinished business in her sport for the three-time world champion.
Christie left Sochi wondering whether she could continue in the sport after false starts, disqualifications, and tumbles were followed by death threats online as everything that could go wrong, did go wrong.
In the four years since she’s become a world champion, broken world records and established herself as the top-ranked skater in her sport. Surely, this Olympics couldn’t be as bad. Oh, how wrong she was.
“I’ll be back in Beijing [host city of the 2022 Games],” she promised. “For all the success I’ve had, I can’t let this define me.
“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.
“I’m world champion and world record holder and I’ve proved myself. I wanted to bring it home for Britain, I could sense the support of the nation all the way from here.
“It would have meant the world to me. I’m devastated that I couldn’t, but I know this is short-track.”
After falling and finishing fourth in the 500m final, she fell again and was disqualified in the 1500m, injuring her right ankle.
She hobbled to the start line for yesterday’s 1000m – her favourite event – but was sent spinning into the barriers at the very first corner.
She got up and returned to the start line for the restart, gingerly setting off and allowing others to contest the race while she stayed patient. Using every bit of energy she qualified in second, only to then be disqualified for two in-race penalties.
However, she defended her decision to race, despite clearly not being fit enough.
Moreover, there’s no Olympic jinx in her mind, it’s just a case of very bad luck.
“It’s nothing to do with the Olympics, it’s just the way short track goes sometimes. I’ve had three races that were rubbish in the last four years and unfortunately they were all here,” she said.
“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.
“It’s not about not coping with the pressure. I was nowhere near as stressed here as I was at last year’s World Championships because that was always the dream, to be the overall best skater in the world.
“It’s just unlucky, it’s not fate or a curse, that this has happened at both Games. You couldn’t have written this in a book.”
Christie spent nearly an hour fulfilling her media commitments yesterday, smiling though her heart was breaking. She revealed that it was messages of support from back home that inspired her to push to race when, in truth, she should probably have not been on the ice.
“It’s been such a tough two days to turn this around and my ankle has doubled in size,” she added.
“Getting it into my skate was hard enough and I gave it my best shot.
“I had so many messages and some of them have made me quite emotional, all the kids that have used Twitter to contact me, they’ve told me I’m their inspiration, their hero. I just wanted to do it for them.
“I was bullied as a kid and no one had my back and now everyone has my back. I’ve got four years to get ready to repay them.”
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