Elise Christie: 'I wanted to retire after these Winter Olympics but it did not work out'

Ben Bloom
The Telegraph
Christie is now determined to win in four years' time to complete her career goal - Getty Images AsiaPac
Christie is now determined to win in four years' time to complete her career goal - Getty Images AsiaPac

Elise Christie has revealed she planned to retire after these Winter Olympics, but will now continue on her quest to win a medal and is considering a move into the less frenetic world of long-track speed skating.

Christie admits she still “can’t believe” that another Olympics has ended without a medal after a triple disqualification at Sochi 2014 was followed by a crash and two disqualifications in Pyeongchang.

Had she made the podium in at least one of her events, she would likely have retired this week. Instead, she says she is now firmly committed to continuing skating until the Beijing 2022 Olympics.

“The focus is definitely Beijing,” she said. “I still can’t believe that the Olympics has ended like this.

“I’ve done hundreds of races in the last ten years where I’ve been on top of that podium, I’ve won world and European titles and medals. The odds of it going this way were so slim and that means it isn’t over.

“I probably wanted to retire. I thought I’d medal and then I could [retire] because I’d achieved what I wanted and maybe I could have a go at another sport.

<span>Christie's unsuccessful Winter Olympics has come and gone in a blur</span> <span>Credit: &nbsp;REUTERS </span>
Christie's unsuccessful Winter Olympics has come and gone in a blur Credit:  REUTERS

“My last goal was 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 people see the sport in such a negative light because of what’s happened.

“As much as I hate the sport too at some points, and it sucks, at the same time 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.”

Although her aspirations to move into the world of cycling are now forgotten in favour of sticking with skating, Christie confirmed she may compete in both short-track and long-track speeding skating in the future.

Whereas short-track sees up to six athletes line up together on a 111-metre track, long-track features separate lanes on a 400m track with only two athletes competing against the clock in each race.

Winter Olympics 2018: Best pictures from South Korea's PyeongChang games
Winter Olympics 2018: Best pictures from South Korea's PyeongChang games

The main hindrance to Christie is the lack of long track facilities in Britain, but she said she would consider moving abroad.

“It’s gone through my mind for many years and I’ve done it as part of my training,” she said.

“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 aboard, 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.

“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 it’s the only thing I don’t have. I would come back and do both happily.”

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