Elise Christie, British short track speed skater, arrived to the Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea as a competitor for gold in three short track events: the 500, 1000, and 1500 meter race. Unfortunately, Christie is leaving the Games empty-handed due to an alarming crash in the 500m race, leaving her in fourth place in the event for which she previously held the world record.
Christie was able to progress into the 1500m semifinals, prepared and in good position to title herself as one of the two qualifying spots headed into the final lap. However, as she rounded the corner of the near end, she attempted to surpass a Chinese skater on the outside and sprint for second place, but she got too close and slammed into the wall.
Not only did Christie miss out on the event she held a reigning champion title to, but shortly after the incident, she was rushed to the hospital due to an injured ankle. Christie spent two days in a walking boot to try and heal her ankle for the 1000m race, but when she stood on the starting line, she collapsed immediately.
Disregarding her damaged and pained ligament, Christie returned to the starting line, competed with an injury, and finished in second place.
Although her victory seemed admirable, the judges later revoked her title after viewing the tapes and seeing her make illegal moves that caused harm or hazard to other competitors. This resulted in immediate disqualification, her earning a yellow card, and a disappointing finale to Christie’s fourth Olympic Games as her coach carried her off the ice.
This event was a misfortunate reminder of Christie’s third Olympics in Sochi, Russia. She was disqualified from all three events, later receiving an ambush of death threats from Koreans who believed Christie costed one of their speed skaters a gold medal, eliciting the deletion of her Twitter account.
“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, I’m the world-record holder. 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,” Christie said to CNN.
Christie is now braced for another four years of preparation until the 2022 Olympics in Beijing, where she will be back on the ice.