Elise Christie is ready to reap the rewards from her new ‘gold or bust’ mentality as she prepares to lead a five-strong Great Britain short-track team into her third Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.
Christie launched a major overhaul of her racing style after her triple disqualification disappointment at Sochi 2014 and it paid off in style with three World Championship titles in Rotterdam early in 2017.
To win a short-track race is totally different to medalling. I could sit at the front in a 500m race and more or less guarantee a medal every time, but if I did that I would be just as disappointed as if I went for the win and ended up with nothing.Elise Christie
The 27-year-old’s success launched her on to that year’s shortlist for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award as well as making her a major medal favourite when the sport returns to its roots in South Korea in February.
Christie said: I feel like the biggest thing for me since Sochi is that I have learned to accept failure, and that it is worthwhile taking the risks rather than settling for second best.
“To win a short-track race is totally different to medalling. I could sit at the front in a 500m race and more or less guarantee a medal every time, but if I did that I would be just as disappointed as if I went for the win and ended up with nothing.
“Pyeongchang is not about redemption for me – it is about winning. I owe everyone who has supported me, as well as myself, to give everything I’ve got to win the gold.
“It doesn’t mean I’m going to do it, but it means whatever happens I can come back with no regrets.”
Christie applied her new-found mentality in the World Championships in Rotterdam last winter and it paid off spectacularly with golds in both the 1,000m and 1,500m, as well as picking up the women’s overall title.
But her hunger for success was still not sated and she admitted she travelled home from Holland mulling over the mistakes which had cost her a fourth victory in her favoured 500m.
“When I won the World Championships I still came away thinking, ‘Why didn’t I win the 500m?’ But that is just normal for me. I can see failures in everything I do,” she said.
“But I think that is what drives me on.
“Short-track is not the kind of sport which has prolific winners, so you have to be driven by something internal.
“I judge myself very heavily and that is what keeps propelling me forward.”
Christie will be joined in Pyeongchang by fellow Sochi Olympian and World Cup medallist Charlotte Gilmartin, along with debutants Kathryn Thomson, Farrell Treacy and Joshua Cheetham.