Tears and recriminations were once more the fate of Elise Christie at an Olympic games. Four years after losing silver under penalty in the 500m short track speed skating final, Christie was once again on the wrong side of providence, this time crashing out of the same event on the final lap.
And this after setting a new Olympic record in the quarter-final in her first race of the night. Perhaps she is destined to suffer. According to Korean superstition, four, the position in which she qualified for the final, is an unlucky number. It certainly did her few favours, casting her towards the back of the five-woman field into the first corner.
It took Christie until the final lap to make her move and when she did edge into bronze position by lunging dangerously in front of Canada’s Kim Boutin, the risk proved fatal with the pair inevitably coming together as they rounded the penultimate bend, sending Christie into the barriers.
— Kevin Garside (@GARSIDEK) February 13, 2018
Boutin stayed upright and eventually claimed bronze after a penalty to second placed Minjeong Choi dropped the South Korean to last. Christie now has four days to recover her equilibrium before going again in the 1500m.
“I’ve worked so hard for that moment and I got knocked over. It’s so out of my control but almost that feels worse. At least I can go home and think I didn’t make any mistakes but it still sucks,” Christie said.
Short track speed skating director Stewart Laing claimed the team had systems in place to ensure Christie would not repeat the experience of four years ago when she followed her 500m disappointment with disqualification in the 1000m and 1500m.
“I wouldn’t want to point fingers. Hugely disappointed but that is the nature of short track. Unfortunately she finishes in that soul-destroying fourth place. We have brought our sports psychologist out and we have had this planned just in case.
“We will regroup and refocus. We will give her time to digest but then help her cope with what’s happened. Crucially Elise is in a much stronger place. She is far more robust than last time. She has actually finished the race so it’s different to Sochi.”
Visibly shaken by the experience Christie has work to do to restore her equilibrium. That process begins with an immediate return to the track to remind Christie of the qualities that propelled her to world championship gold last year in both the 1000m and 1500m.
“Obviously none of us wanted it to be written this way but we come back on Saturday in her best event,” Laing said. “We look at her and she has speed and she has talent. You have to give it everything. The 1500 and 1000 are her favourite events so will will sit down and focus on them.
“What I can say is we’ve done a lot of work with Elise and we’ll go back and start to talk through those plans. It’s not like we’re completely unprepared for this. Scenario planning is something we’ve done knowing this is short-track and it’s not always going to be the fairytale.”
Source : https://inews.co.uk/sport/olympics/winter-olympics-elise-christie-tears-final-curse-strikes/635