Ice queen Elise Christie, of Hucknall, has launched her comeback from “the real low” of a disastrous Winter Olympic Games earlier this year.
Elise (24) has freely admitted that she thought of quitting short-track speed-skating after the Games in Sochi, Russia where her medal hopes were destroyed by controversy and misfortune.
But now she is back on track and posted encouraging results in the first big tournament of the new season at Salt Lake City in Utah, USA last weekend.
Tackling the first round of races in the ISU (International Skating Union) World Cup, Elise finished fourth in the final of the 1,000m and fifth in the final of the 1,500m, which left her fifth in the overall world rankings.
The World Cup series, which features 150 skaters from 24 countries, now rolls on to Montreal in Canada this weekend, followed by trips to Shanghai, China and Seoul, Korea in December.
Last year, Elise won an overall silver medal at the event, which made her one of the favourites for glory in Sochi. But in an incredible run of bad fortune, she suffered three disqualifications and two falls. And in an interview with BBC Sport before flying out to the States, she confessed that she had still not fully recovered from her Olympic disappointment.
“I couldn’t believe that what I had worked wight years for was over in a matter of seconds,” Elise said.
“I hit a real low, and I was thinking: I quit, I can’t do this any more. I thought I couldn’t carry on another four years to the next Olympics, which just seemed such a long way off. I’m still not fully over it now. I have moments when I am on the ice and I get emotional which, for me, is very unusual. But at least I am back in the swing of things. I have accepted everything and I feel like a person again, not just a machine, skating.
“This season is more about enjoying myself. By the end of the year, hopefully I won’t be thinking about Sochi any more.
“At first, I thought it would have broken me. But it definitely didn’t. It has made me train harder than ever before.
“Sochi has really pushed me on. Whether it will make me a better athlete, I don’t know. But it’s definitely made me a better person.”
Elise lives in Hucknall with boyfriend and fellow speed-skater Jack Whelbourne (23), who also competed in Utah last weekend.
Jack finished fourth in the 1,000m final and reached the semi-finals of the 1,500m to receive classifications significantly higher than his current overall world ranking of 30th.
He was also dogged by wretched luck in Sochi, falling in the final of the 1,500m and sustaining an injury that hampered his chances in the other two disciplines.
However, both Jack and Elise did pick up medals at the World Championships in Montreal in March.