10 Feb 2014

Can speed skater Elise Christie strike gold at Sochi?

Team GB is an up and coming nation in speed skating, and since competing in the 2010 Vancouver Games, Scotland’s Elise Christie has gone from strength to strength.

Elise Christie (Reuters)

Short-track speed skating made its Olympic debut in 1992 at Albertville, Canada, and has gone on to become one of the exciting events at the Games, due to the speed and intensity of competition, writes Becky Horsbrugh.

It is a type of speed skating in which athletes compete to cover a 111.12 metre oval ice track as quickly as possible. Eight sets of medals are awarded, with races for men and women in the 500m, 1000m and 1500m. Men also compete over 5000m and women over 3000m.

The skaters complete on an elimination basis. They start as a group and use various tactics to cross the finish line first.

Strength to strength

Elise Christie was born in Livingston, Scotland, and began as a figure skater before switching to short track at the age of 12. Three years later she moved to Nottingham to train full time at the National Ice Centre.

This is not her first Olympics. She competed at the 2010 Games, finishing 11th in the 500m, 19th in the 1000m and 20th in the 1500m.

Since then the 23-year-old’s career has gone from strength to strength. Christie won the individual 1000m World Cup title as part of a great 2012-2013 season, in which she also became the first British woman to win a World Championship medal in short-track when she took 1000m bronze in Hungary.

She also won gold over 1000m and 1500m at last year’s European Championships, and last month successfully defended her 1000m title in Norway.

1000m is her favoured event but she is strongly tipped to do well in all three distances. Britain is an up and coming short-track speed skating nation, and Christie is one of several medal contenders in the five-strong squad in Sochi.

Short-track speed skating

500m (13 Feb)
10 February - ladies 500m heats
13 February - ladies 500m quarterfinals
13 February - ladies 500m semifinals
13 February - ladies 500m finals

1500m (15 Feb)
15 February - ladies 1500m heats
15 February - ladies 1500m semifinals
15 February - ladies 1500m finals

1000m (21 Feb)
18 February - ladies 1000m heats
21 February - ladies 1000m quarterfinals
21 February - ladies 1000m semifinals
21 February - ladies 1000m finals

Becky Horsbrugh is a producer with Channel 4 News