Hucknall cheering on Team GB speed-skaters Christie and Whelbourne at Winter Olympics

SETTLING DOWN IN THEIR HUCKNALL HOME -- short-track speed-skaters Elise Christie and Jack Whelbourne.
SETTLING DOWN IN THEIR HUCKNALL HOME -- short-track speed-skaters Elise Christie and Jack Whelbourne.

Hucknall has a special reason to cheer on two of Team GB’s medal-hunters at the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

For short-track speed-skaters Elise Christie and Jack Whelbourne have moved in together at a house in the town.

Christie (23) and her boyfriend Whelbourne (22) bought the property just before Christmas. And while it would be unwise to disclose exactly where it is, given that they will be in Russia until the end of February, Hucknall is sure to give them a warm homecoming when they get back.

Their new neighbours have already shared with them the pain and the heartbreak that the Olympics can bring.

For on Thursday, Christie was robbed of a silver medal in the ladies’ 500m final when she was disqualified for causing a three-skater collision. She crossed the line in second, only to be demoted to fourth.

Her disappointment was mirrored earlier in the week when Whelbourne crashed out of the men’s 1500m when taking a heavy fall in the final.

Considering he was ranked 26th in the world, he did remarkably well to become the first Briton ever to qualify for the final, setting a new national record time en route.

But when handily placed, one of his blades caught a dislodged course-marker block and he came down, badly twisting his ankle.

The injury left Whelbourne a race against time to be fit for the 1000m, the final of which is on Saturday, and the 500m, the final of which is next Friday.

Christie is also set to contest the other two events in the ladies’ competition. The final of the 1500m is on Saturday and the final of the 100m is next Friday.

Regarded as the best female speed-skater Britain has produced, she hails from Livingston in Scotland and met Jack when moving to Nottingham to train at the National Ice Centre.

She is the current European 1000m champion and also won a bronze medal at the world championships in Hungary last year. She won Nottinghamshire’s Sportsperson of the Year award for 2013.

Whelbourne, who comes from Lenton in Nottingham, was junior world champion in 2011 and has won gold and silver medals over 500m at the European Championships.

Lovebirds Christie and Whelbourne Jack moved into their Hucknall home along with their two dogs and two cats. Her hobbies are arts and crafts, while Jack is a fan of cars, motorbikes and mechancics. He is currently restoring a bright yellow 1972 VW Beetle.

The duo’s link to Hucknall maintains a speed-skating tradition in the town. For Jamie Fearn (now 38), born and bred here, was in the British team as a teenager for the Winter Olympics of 1992 and 1994.

Fearn won a silver medal at the 1992 World Championships and was British champion six times, as well as European champion twice.

Ironically, one of his contemporaries and big rivals was Nicky Gooch, who is now coach to Christie and Whelbourne.

After this week’s traumas, Gooch remains the only Briton ever to win a short-track speed-skating medal at the Winter Olympics when he took bronze at Lillehammer, Norway 20 years ago.