In what could be another Winter Olympics letdown for this Brit, Olympic speed skater Elise Christie crashed during the women’s 1,500 meter short-track speed skating semi-finals. Christie was taken off the ice on a stretcher and brought to the hospital for scans, but Team Great Britain signals that she will be OK. What may be most upsetting is her disqualification and the possibility of repeating challenges faced at Sochi's 2014 Games when she went home without a medal.
Christie was trying to overtake China's Li Jinyu in the final bend of the race when she nudged her competitor. That lead to a domino effect that knocked both Li and Christie down. As Li started to fall she took out Christie who was sent into the side boards, obviously wincing in pain. Christie even came into contact with Li's blades, a dangerous possibility given how sharp the mere millimeter-thick blades are.
As Christie lay on the ice, medical staff began to treat her and she wasn't moved for several minutes. She was even in tears as she was taken out of the stadium. That could be due to the disqualification though. She was decided to be at fault for the crash whereas Li advanced and ultimately won the silver medal. This is Christie's second disappointment of the games; she also fell in the 500 meter race on Tuesday.
The good news comes from Team Great Britain. A spokesperson for the team pointed to no serious injuries after the hospital visit:
Following the race Elise Christie was taken to hospital accompanied by the team doctor, team physio and team leader. She has had an X-ray on her right ankle which has shown that there are no broken bones. Team GB medical staff will continue to assess her over the coming days. Elise wants to thank everyone for their support and the hospital staff who assessed her so quickly.
Before the scan her team lead was hesitant to commit her to racing in the 1,000 meter race, typically her best. "It's tough but right now it doesn't really matter about the race or whatever, it's really her health we're concerned about and the scan will tell us," Team Great Britain's Chef de Mission at the games, Mike Hay, said.
Christie has not spoken out since this latest crash, but after her fall in the 500 meter race, she acknowledged her disappointment on Twitter. "I’m heartbroken with the result, but I also know what happened wasn’t in my control!" Christie tweeted. "I worked so hard for the 500, but this time round it wasn’t meant to be, 4 years to prepare to be a 500 Olympic champion, but for now onwards and upwards to the next event."
Now that the 1,500 meter race is out of the way with no medal, it all boils down to the 1,000 meter and if she can get back on her skates for it.
Were she to go home empty handed, it would seem to be a repeat of the 2014 Sochi Games. Christie went into those a favorite and then was disqualified in the 500, 1,000, and 1,500 meter races. She even suffered social media bullying from South Koreans who were upset with her for taking out speed skater Park Seung-hi in a crash.
This year she came to the games as a favorite once again. As of 2016, Christie holds the world record time in the 500 meter. Last year she was the women's world champion and also won the world titles in the 1,000 and 1,500 meter races.
Her fans will be cheering her on to bounce back for the 1,000 meter race, but there's no doubt Christie wants it more than anyone.