ELISE CHRISTIE, the Scottish short track speed skater, has spoken of the bullying she endured in school as a child and how she has used the ordeal to toughen her up for a career in elite sport.


The 24-year-old, who travels to Dordrecht this week hoping to retain her European 1,000m title, was catapulted to fame last February when her Winter Olympic medal hopes in Sochi were dashed by no fewer than three separate disqualifications.

Christie was subsequently bombarded with abuse on Twitter, mainly from Korean fans angered by the fact her disqualification for crashing in the 500m event disadvantaged their favourite Park Seung-hi, and she said yesterday that it had all brought back memories of the bullying she experienced during her school days at St Margaret's Academy in Livingston.

"I was bullied at school in the past and it kind of brought all those feelings back up," said the 24-year-old, who left West Lothian for Nottingham at the age of 15. "That was in my first school, it was a long time ago. I wasn't as strong back then as I am now and I do think that things in life do make you a stronger person. That was definitely one of them.

"I am not bothered it happened now, because actually at the end of the day, it managed to make me deal with harder things.

"It does happen, I don't think you are ever going to be able to completely stop it, but I think they have a lot of good things in place nowadays for kids and there are a lot of people to turn to if kids are struggling at school. I think they have moved it forward in the last couple of years."

As for dealing with her Sochi trauma, Christie actually spent the next couple of months in Seoul of all places.

"Even now, I am not fully over the way it happened to me," she said. "I wasn't known at all and then to be known initially as a hated person, it was not nice. It wasn't great and I was worried about going out there.

"But when I got out there, I realised that it was just cyber stuff, and that everybody was really nice. I think it was good to get out there and face up to it I guess."