EDINBURGH short track speed skater Elise Christie has been making a name for herself this year, but mum Angela Wright admits it will count for nothing unless she repeats the feat at next year’s Sochi Olympics.
With the 2014 Winter Olympics now less than 200 days away, all eyes will be on Elise in the build-up as she heads to Russia as one of Great Britain’s best medal hopes.
The 22-year-old is the European champion over 1000m and 1500m, holds the World Cup title over the former distance and won bronze in the same event at the World Championships. All this points to Elise improving on her performances from the Vancouver Games in 2010, where she failed to reach the finals for the 500m, 1000m and 1500m events.
And mother Angela insists she will be keeping everything crossed between now and her daughter’s flight to Russia to ensure exactly that happens.
“Elise has been in great form and I am really proud and I just hope that she can carry it over to next season now,” said Angela, who was taking part in the P&G partnership with the British Olympic Association (BOA) to deliver the “nearest & dearest” programme to educate families of Sochi 2014 Olympians.
“I think she was finding the extra attention on her after her recent good results and ahead of the Olympics quite hard initially as she is actually quite a quiet person – not that you would realise it the way she flies around the track.
“But I think she is excited about it and her recent results have given her a bit of confidence ahead of the Olympics and I just hope it stays that way.
“Anything can happen in her sport but if you are confident heading in, then that gives you an advantage.
“Like everyone else she was glued to the TV watching London 2012 and she now wants to build on that herself and fingers crossed she can.
“Having been there before and done it, I hope that helps her, and I just hope that she can build on her good results next season all the way to the Games.”
But Angela admits next year could have been entirely different if she hadn’t been introduced to the sport of short track speed skating by a friend.
“Elise did figure skating from when she was seven as she had a friend from school whose family was into it and especially ice dance. So she started off by going to that and she went through all the badges,” she added. “She was then asked by one of the figure skating coaches to do that so she started having private lessons and competitions and moved to within the national squad where she was asked to do speed skating for a bit of fun because they knew she was prepared to go fast.
“And she was encouraged to do it on from there and she qualified for the British Championships, and it has just gone on from there so it was quite a fluke situation really.”
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