Shanghai shaker revives Olympic memories for speed-skater Elise Christie

SLIPPING AND SLIDING -- Elise Christie crashes in the 500m final at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia earler this year (PHOTO BY: David Davies/PA Wire).

SLIPPING AND SLIDING -- Elise Christie crashes in the 500m final at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia earler this year (PHOTO BY: David Davies/PA Wire).

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Flashbacks of her nightmare in the Winter Olympic Games were revived by another fall for Hucknall’s short-track speed-skating star Elise Christie -- this time at the World Cup.

Tackling the third leg of six in the International Skating Union (ISU) event at Shanghai, China, Christie won her 500m quarter-final and finished second in the semis.

But then she crashed in the final -- just as she had in Sochi, Russia earlier this year when her Olympic medal hopes were similarly dashed by controversy and misfortune.

Scot Christie was still placed an excellent fourth behind Kexin Fan, of China, Canada’s Marianne St-Gelais and Alang Kim, of Korea.

But it was another case of what might have been for the talented 24-year-old, who suffered two falls and three disqualifications in Sochi.

Stuart Horsepool, who is performance director for the British team, commented: “It was unfortunate that Elise fell, but short-track speed-skating can be very unpredictable and falls are a common occurrence in the sport.”

Christie also competed in the 1,000m, finishing 12th after just missing out on a place in the semi-finals by a split second.

Remarkably, boyfriend Jack Whelbourne (23), with whom she lives in Hucknall, also suffered his own costly falls in the qualifying rounds in Shanghai.

Reverting to the repechage races, Whelbourne flew through the 1,000m and 1,500m heats, which he won. He finished third in the 1,000m quarter-finals, to be ranked 12th overall, and second in the 1,500m repechage semi to be ranked 21st overall. In the previous leg of the World Cup, at Salt Lake City in the USA, Whelbourne broke the British 1,000m record, and Horsepool was again pleased with his performances, which bettered his current world ranking positions.

“Jack showed a lot of grit and determination to come back fighting after his falls,” he said. “He skated extremely well.

“Before heading out to Asia, Jack and Elise had to try and cram six weeks worth of training into just two weeks, so they are fatigued at the moment.

“However, they coped well and even though they didn’t medal, we are not concerned with their form.”

The remaining three rounds of the World Cup are in Seoul, Korea, Dresden, Germany and Erzurum, Turkey. Christie’s current classifications are -- 500m 9th, 1,000m 5th and 1,500m 13th. Whelbourne’s current classifications are -- 500m 34th, 1,000m 13th and 1,500m 21st..