Winter Olympics: Elise Christie faces a race against time to make return to the rink

Elise Christie of Great Britain falls after a crash with Jinyu Li of China during the Short Track Speed Skating Ladies’ 1500m Semifinals on day eight of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Gangneung Ice Arena on February 17, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

British Olympic officials admit Elise Christie is in her biggest Olympic race yet – and it’s a race against time, writes James Toney in PyeongChang.

Christie crashed out in the semi-finals of the short track speed skating 1500m on Saturday night – and was rushed to hospital for scans on an ankle injury.

And, in another chapter that will enhance her status as Britain’s unluckiest Olympian, the three-time world champion might now miss her favourite event, with the 1000m heats scheduled for Tuesday.

“It’s a bit of a fight against time whether she can make it or not,” said British Olympic Association chef de mission and team leader Mike Hay.

“Nothing is broken, she has got soft tissue damage to her right ankle and we won’t be making a decision until Tuesday morning whether she can skate or not.

“It’s how the ankle responds. She wants to make it but it might not be her decision at the end of the day – you’ve got to be able to get the boot on your foot. We’ll have to wait and see what the doctors say and take it from there.

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“There must be some chance or they wouldn’t be saying we can wait until Tuesday, we’ll just have to sit tight for the next 48 hours.

“We’ve got a programme put together to give her the best opportunity but it’s very much in the balance.

“If she’s able to skate she will, I don’t think it’s a problem for her mentally.”

Elise Christie was photographed wearing a foot cast by boyfriend, Hungarian speed skater Shaolin Sándor Liu in PyeongChang (via Shaolin Liu Instagram)

Four medals in the space of 36 hours have edged the British team to their five medal target but James Woods – a top hope to reach the podium – finished fourth in Sunday’s men’s slopestyle final.

And, this morning, Eve Muirhead’s curling rink, bronze medallists four years ago, slipped to their third defeat, with a controversial extra end loss to Sweden

“Woodsy is very frustrated. He had it in him to win a medal and to lose by such a small margin is pretty galling,” added Hay. “It’s just very tough to come fourth in an Olympics.

“We’ve got opportunities left, Billy Morgan and Dave Ryding have both got chances. Curling isn’t looking fantastic at the moment but it’s a long round robin and Eve is still in there with a chance and I don’t want to tempt fate with Elise, so I’ll leave that one alone.”

  • Will Elise race again? Catch the women’s 1000m heats live on Eurosport 1 this Tuesday at 10am. Don’t miss a moment of the Olympic Winter Games at and the Eurosport app

Meanwhile, Woods used the only language he knows to describe his fourth place – ‘it sucks’, he said.

Woods is a world and X-Games medallist but he couldn’t muscle himself onto the Olympic podium in a high-quality final he dubbed the ‘best-ever’.

Fractions matter in slopestyle, a degree too much and the perfect run can end with your face in the snow.

And the 26-year old from Sheffield admitted he was so close to putting it all together.

The result improves Woods’s fifth place in Sochi four years ago, when he was nursing a hip injury and had to hold back.

Though it came as a scant consolation.

“Fourth isn’t that great, it definitely sucks. Fourth place is so devastating, you’re so close to the action,” he said, after finishing just 1.20 points off the podium topped by Norway’s Oyster Braaten.

“I can put my hand on heart and say that run, totally clean, definitely could have won and I’m proud of that.

“With this depth of field, it is incredible because everyone is so, so good. You can’t predict a thing. I went out there and put it all on the line and I went for broke.

“That final was next level. That was mega. The number of people that got in the 90s in qualification was obscene. Everyone put on a show – I couldn’t be more proud.

“From a seriously inside point of view that was the most incredible competition.”

  • Will Elise race again? Catch the women’s 1000m heats live on Eurosport 1 this Tuesday at 10am. Don’t miss a moment of the Olympic Winter Games at and the Eurosport app