“Right now,” sobbed Elise Christie, her face a mask of torment, “I just can’t see living with this feeling.” Seldom is melodrama served up so raw, but then seldom does any athlete seem stricken by such a diabolical hex. For the fourth event in a row at the Winter Games, the speed-skater floundered within sight of the prize, bundled into a wall on the final lap in her desperation to seize a medal in the women’s 500 metres. The Olympics is becoming to Christie what Macbeth has long been to thespians: a play best never mentioned for fear of the curse it might invoke.
Emotional vulnerability is a constant of Christie’s story. Her agonies in Sochi four years ago, when she received three disqualifications, elicited a deluge of tender reassurances that it would all be better next time. Except the redemptive arc in sport is not always smooth. Here at the Gangneung Ice Arena, where thousands had turned up in support of her South Korean rival Choi Min-jeong, the overwrought theatre of her Olympic career was seamlessly resumed.
No sooner had Christie stepped off the rink than she collapsed, inconsolable, into the arms of her Hungarian boyfriend and fellow skater, Sandor Liu Shaolin. Thirty minutes later , she was still crying. Such is the pain of watching the graft of hundreds of lonely mornings on the ice dissolve in a little over 42 seconds. Then again, Christie might also reflect that crashing is a heightened occupational hazard in a sport that is essentially graceful human pinball, where the slightest error in pace or positioning can flatten the entire field.
“I know I’m supposed to be prepared for this, but it still hurts,” she said. While the 500m is not Christie’s strongest suit – that comes next week, in the 1,000m – it is, by her own admission, her favourite. The race was also one where she headed to Pyeongchang with a formidable pedigree, having set a world record over this distance in Salt Lake City. Her evening on Tuesday could hardly have begun more auspiciously, as she swept through her quarter-finals by knocking two-tenths off the Olympic record. It was in the following round, alas, that any best-laid plans evaporated.
Amid the jostling of her semi-final, Christie was squeezed into second by a few centimetres, which fatefully left her a tricky draw of lane four for the chaotic five-woman final. From the starting gun she struggled, trying repeatedly to slip past the pack on the inside, but finding even the narrowest path closed off. Hearing the last-lap bell as her medal prospects receded, Christie gambled, looking to swerve into a better position for the final bend but succeeding only in colliding with Holland’s Yara van Kerkhof. With one ungainly tangle of limbs and a yelp of frustration, all hope disappeared.
Source : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/winter-olympics/2018/02/13/elise-christie-bids-team-gbs-first-medal-winter-olympics-live/525