Evening Times - - SPORT - By JAMES TONEY

NO-ONE likes to write the same story, but as Elise Christie was sent flail­ing across the ice it was all just a bit eerily fa­mil­iar.

There’s no fil­ter with Christie. What you see is what you get and what we got yes­ter­day was tears and raw emo­tion. No hugs could con­sole, no words could en­cour­age. She was just ut­terly bereft and dev­as­tated at her mis­for­tune – again.

Christie had looked im­pe­ri­ous dur­ing the heats, twice set­ting new Olympic records in the 500m event in which she holds the world record.

But she fin­ished sec­ond in her semi-fi­nal and that meant a wide draw for the fi­nal, putting fur­ther pres­sure on her start – which she ad­mits is her weak­est at­tribute.

Any­thing can and does hap­pen in short track, as skaters ca­reer in di­min­ish­ing cir­cles around a tight track at 30mph.

Thrills and spills are as guar­an­teed as, it seems, are Christie’s tears after her fourth­place fin­ish, her cause not aided by a five-per­son fi­nal when Canada’s Kim Boutin was pro­moted from her semi-fi­nal.

“I was knocked over, I didn’t fall on my own and it sucks,” she said. “It’s just tough, I’ve worked so hard for this and it has been taken away from me. Right now I can’t see liv­ing with this feel­ing.

“It is short track and I’m sup­posed to be pre­pared for this, but it hurts.

“Hope­fully I can come back again. I can re­set. It’s al­most a week un­til my best dis­tance but I ended up with fourth place and that’s pretty tough to deal with right now.

“So many lit­tle things con­spired against me. I got bumped in my semi-fi­nal and be­cause it wasn’t that quick, I started from lane four. I’m not the fastest starter, so I knew the like­li­hood of win­ning gold was pretty slim at that point.

“The race shifted around and then I thought that I could win the thing. I got caught and that just sucks. I tried my best to hold the cor­ner but we’re go­ing quite fast on these tiny blades.

“When I went down I knew it was over be­cause I knew they would only pe­nalise one per­son.

“Nor­mally there’s only four peo­ple in a fi­nal too, so if you get knocked over by some­one you still get a medal by the end of it too.

“It’s re­ally hard to ex­plain, I’ve worked so hard for that mo­ment out there and I got knocked over.”

In the end Korean Choi Min-jeong was dis­qual­i­fied to the boos of home fans while Italy’s Ari­anna Fon­tana took gold ahead of Dutch skater Yara van Kerkhof and Boutin.

Christie will now have three days to re­set her fo­cus on the 1500m this week­end, one of her world ti­tle dis­tances from last year.

But it’s not un­til next Thurs­day that she races in the 1000m – her main event. But Christie is not the same ath­lete as four years ago, when she suf­fered al­most eerily sim­i­lar mis­for­tune in Sochi.

She fell in two events and was dis­qual­i­fied in an­other at those Games but has since won 11 of her 12 global medals, in­clud­ing those three world golds 12 months ago.

FOR­MER Olympic stars were queu­ing up to back her to re­cover, in­clud­ing skier Chemmy Al­cott and skele­ton slider Amy Williams, an Olympic gold medal­list in 2010 as well as Team GB chef de mis­sion Mike Hay.

“Any­time when it’s the af­ter­math of a race, es­pe­cially when it’s an Olympic fi­nal, you’re not go­ing to feel great,” he said. “I ad­mire her for try­ing to win gold and ev­ery­body at home could see she tried ev­ery­thing to move up the field, so I’m dis­ap­pointed for her. How­ever, she is a dif­fer­ent ath­lete to four years ago and she’s got great sup­port staff around her.”

Elise Christie slides across the ice after be­ing bumped in the 500m speed skat­ing fi­nal yes­ter­day by dis­qual­i­fied Korean Choi Min-jeong

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