Short Track star Christie targets Winter Olympic glory

Published 6 February 2017

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GB short track speed skater Elise Christie says she is already getting excited about the prospect of competing at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics with one year to go until the Games get underway in South Korea.

The 26 year old Scot is the 500m world record holder and one of Britain’s strongest Winter Olympic medal prospects after winning five World Cup gold medals this season.

“It would be amazing to go to PyeongChang 2018,” Christie told UK Sport ahead of #WinterSportsWeek this week.

“I didn’t think when I started this sport that I would be a three-time Olympian but fingers-crossed I can will qualify and achieve that and I will be targeting the podium.

“After my first Olympics at Vancouver 2010, I thought to myself that there was no point in going out there just for the experience.

“I think I finished 11th in Vancouver and I though next time, they are going to have to beat me. That was when everything changed for me and I realised I could be quite good at this sport.

“Up until that point, it was just blind belief. I had no idea if it would work for me or not.”

Christie underlined her status as one of the sport’s best athletes at the 2015 World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Moscow, Russia when she took silvers in both the 500m and 1000m to become the first British skater to win two medals at a World Short Track Speed Skating Championships.

But despite her numerous achievements, Christie reveals that she didn’t come to the sport until late and feels that other young people out there could replicate her success with the right attitude.

“I didn’t start short track until quite late,” she said.

“I started out as a figure skater from when I was about 7 or 8. I only took up short track for the first time when I was 15 so I haven’t been doing it that long. I think it is quite an easy sport to switch to if you have already done an ice sport like I had.

“To be a good short tracker, you have to be powerful. That is important but it can be trained.

“I wasn’t naturally powerful when I was younger but it is something I worked on over a long period of time.

“You also have to be in touch with your body so you can create the technical positions needed. You see a lot of very powerful skaters who can do well at 500m but they can’t do 1000m or 1500m because their technique isn’t quite there. Being in touch with feelings in your body is really useful.

“To be a winner, you just need to be able to accept the daily grind. You have to remember that day to day, it isn’t that fun. It is challenging, it is hard, it is tiring and there are days you don’t want to be on the ice. There are days when you look at the session and think, ‘Can I actually do that without dying?’

“But the actual reward of putting in so much grind for one moment is incredible and it is worth it. Everyone knows that once they have experienced it once but it is the belief before that point which makes you a winner. You have to have the blind belief in yourself to be a winner.

“Belief is vital because I didn’t ever expect to go to the Olympics and it wasn’t something I ever thought about when I was young; I was always just determined to be better than I was the day before.

“I was always focused on getting faster and stronger and that has always been the same even when I was doing athletics when I was younger.

I was never focused on what I was going to achieve but I remember going to my first Olympics in Vancouver and seeing people win and I remember thinking – that is what I want to do.”

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