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No drama as Christie makes it into quarter-finals

Elise Christie has a tattoo on her wrist that simply says "dream" and a dream ending to a nightmare Olympics is still a possibility.

Elise Christie qualified with ease in the 1000m short track skating. Picture: David Davies/PA
Elise Christie qualified with ease in the 1000m short track skating. Picture: David Davies/PA

The short track speed skater from Livingston, now based in Nottingham, progressed to the quarter-finals of the 1000m, her main target in Sochi, with a brilliant qualifying performance that had even rival coaches murmuring their appreciation.

However, after a week to forget in which she has fallen victim to bullying on Twitter and her sport's notoriously prickly judges, Christie was happy just to avoid any more drama.

"I had a few days feeling quite down and I was pretty emotional," she admitted. "I didn't train very well this week but when I stepped on the ice I was ready to go and felt very confident. I did briefly think about pulling out but I would never do that. I've got that grit in me that keeps me wanting to carry on but I was feeling pretty low, the lowest I have in my career.

"I was told about all the support back home and I smiled for the first time in a while. When I considered not getting back on the ice, the support I've had pushed me to get back on. I know disqualifications come with short track but I felt I had a lot of people against me last week. That's all gone now and I know I have the whole of Britain behind me and everything is wiped now."

Christie has struggled this season as her preferred tactics to lead from the front have been worked out by rivals frustrated by the form she showed last year.

So, just as encouraging as her win, and improving mental confidence, was the manner of her victory: Christie bided her time at the back of the field and then caught her rivals napping by striking for the front three laps from home. "My coach wanted me just to enjoy it and get the love back for skating," she added. "He told me to use my instincts so I decided to sit at the back and then go clear at the end."

Christie has a tough draw in Friday's quarter-finals, though. She will line up against Korea's Park Seung-Hi, one of the skaters she brought down during the 500m final, the new Dutch star Jorien ter Mors, who is seeking a double after winning the 1500m long track title on Sunday, plus Canada's Marie-Eve Drolet and France's Veronique Pierron, with only the top two advancing to the semi-finals.

As we've been told repeatedly in recent days: anything can happen in short track.

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