Elise Christie races against clock to be fit for 1000m heats

Elise Christie is due to race in the 1000m heats on Tuesday. Pic: SNS
Elise Christie is due to race in the 1000m heats on Tuesday. Pic: SNS
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Elise Christie got back on the bike yesterday – literally.

The Livingston short track speed skater posted a video from the Olympic Village as she worked out on an exercise bike, writing “working hard to turn this around… 48 hours to get it sorted” to underline the point.

Christie is used to being in a sprint, but this race against time could be her greatest challenge yet.

The 27-year old Scot won’t make the final decision on whether she will race in tomorrow’s 1000m heat until the last minute, after picking up an ankle injury during the 1500m semi-finals.

Her boyfriend, Shaolin Liu, posted a picture of a smiling Christie on Instagram with her foot in a protective cast, while Christie also posted a message on her own account.

And she thanked the public for their support, and said: “I’m physically so strong and fast right now so fingers crossed I can make a recovery for my best event!

“And for all the short track experts out there I was always going to get a penalty as I didn’t finish the race! I have so much love for short track.”

Whether it’s a case of blind optimism remains to be seen but, for now, it’s possible to think one of sport’s greatest redemption stories could still be written.

“It’s a bit of a fight against time whether she can make it or not,” said British Olympic Association chef de mission and team leader Mike Hay.

“Nothing is broken, she has got soft tissue damage to her right ankle and we won’t be making a decision until Tuesday morning whether she can skate or not.

“It’s how the ankle responds. She wants to make it but it might not be her decision at the end of the day – you’ve got to be able to get the boot on your foot. We’ll have to wait and see what the doctors say and take it from there.

“There must be some chance or they wouldn’t be saying we can wait until Tuesday, we’ll just have to sit tight for the next 48 hours.

“We’ve got a programme put together to give her the best opportunity but it’s very much in the balance.

“If she’s able to skate she will, I don’t think it’s a problem for her mentally.”

Christie came through her 1500m heat in style, dominating the race and progressing with limited fuss. If only it was always like this.

Her six-person semi-final was packed with talent, including the world record holder and home crowd favourite Choi Min Jeong, with only the top two advancing.

Christie found herself needing to make a move on the final bend to get into the mix and her move sent China’s Li Jinyu spinning with her into the barriers.

Christie’s season has already been disrupted by injury, with a thigh problem forcing her to skip several World Cup events.

But she insisted she was back to full fitness in Pyeongchang and had trained with a smile on her face, despite her fall and fourth place in the 500m final earlier this week.

Time will tell now whether she will be back on the ice for Tuesday’s 1000m qualifying, the event which she claimed was her principle target after winning the world title in Rotterdam last year.

She is scheduled to race in the fifth heat against Holland’s Lara Van Ruijven, Hungary’s Andrea Kessler and Poland’s Magdelena Warakomska – all skaters she should beat with ease if fully fit.

Only the top two will progress but, if she races, and if she qualifies, she’ll have more time to rest that ankle before Thursday’s quarter-finals, semi and final.

• Will Elise race again? Catch the women’s 1000m heats live on Eurosport 1 tomorrow at 10am. Don’t miss a moment of the Olympic Winter Games at Eurosport.co.uk and the Eurosport app