GANGNEUNG, South Korea, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Elise Christie’s disastrous Winter Olympics ended in a third ignominious failure when the British short track skater was disqualified in her women’s 1,000 metres heat and had to be carried off the track on Tuesday.
Christie, who came into the Pyeongchang Games as world champion in the 1,000m and 1,500m and was one of Britain’s top gold medal hopes, was clearly hampered by the injury she suffered after crashing in the 1,500 on Saturday.
“I’m a bit shell-shocked,” the 27-year-old, who has crashed or been disqualified in each of the six races she has taken part in at the last two Olympics, told the BBC.
Christie barely got out of the blocks when she went sprawling on the ice in Tuesday’s race, but was saved by a call for a restart.
“Someone actually hit my ankle when that happened. I was in a lot of pain,” she added. “I thought maybe I can’t do this now. I thought about the adrenaline and how that might take over. And it didn’t. I was in a lot of pain.”
Limping heavily, Christie lined up a second time and was in last place over the first few laps before settling into her stride to catch and pass Hungarian Andrea Keszler and Poland’s Magadelena Warakomska for a second-placed finish.
That would have been good enough for Christie to make the quarter-finals, but she was shown a yellow card and disqualified for making two illegal moves as she moved through the pack, bringing her Games to an underwhelming end.
“I don’t know how I got a yellow card,” Christie said. “I have never had one in my life. I went up the inside and I passed the girl.
“The only thing I can think of is if the referee doesn’t think I was safe enough to race. I can see why he might not want me to race like that. He was encouraging me to get off the ice.”
Christie was in tears after she opened her Olympic campaign with a crash in the 500m and in agony after a fall in the 1,500m damaged ligaments in her right ankle.
Tuesday’s shambles left her numb and resigned to a long wait for another shot at Olympic glory.
“To be honest, not much (is going through my mind),” she said. “You’ll have to ask me tomorrow how I feel.
“I promise Britain I will fight from this and I will come back in Beijing and hopefully I can do Britain proud then. It’s just frustrating having to wait four more years. It just wasn’t meant to be this time.” (Reporting by Simon Jennings, editing by Ed Osmond)