SCOTLAND’S Elise Christie has vowed to learn from experience as she prepares to head to next year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi as one of Great Britain’s best hopes of bringing back a medal.
The Livingston 23-year-old is one of a five-strong squad of short-track skaters confirmed for the Games, along with Charlotte Gilmartin, Jon Eley, Richard Shoebridge and Jack Whelbourne.
Christie was still a teenager when she made her Olympic debut in Vancouver in 2010 and her inexperience told as she failed to get beyond the last 16 in any of her events.
But she will go to Sochi as an entirely different proposition after a run of success which saw her crowned overall 1000 metres World Cup champion last season, as well as becoming the first British woman to win an individual World Championship medal.
Christie said: “With the experience I’ve already gained from Vancouver, I hope I can go to Sochi and do more than just take part this time.
“I want to compete for medals and I’m going to fight to be at the top of the pack.”
Team-mate Eley finished fifth in the 500m final in Turin in 2006 and believes he is part of the best Great Britain squad yet as he prepares to hunt his first medal at his third Games.
Eley said: “In some ways I’m more excited because I’m part of the strongest ever squad that Team GB has sent to a Winter Olympics, and history could be made in Sochi.”
Great Britain’s last short-track medal was won by current Great Britain coach Nicky Gooch when he claimed a bronze medal at the 1994 Games in Lillehammer.
And the current squad is clearly in good heart despite the disappointment of neither the men’s nor women’s relay teams managing to make it through the qualifying process.
Performance director Stuart Horsepool said he had been impressed by performances so far: “I’m very pleased with the athletes that have been selected for Sochi.
“They have all worked incredibly hard to for the right to be part of Team GB.
“The short-track programme over the four-year cycle has shown continual improvement on results at a world level, with more skaters winning more medals in more disciplines than ever before.
“This is without doubt the strongest British team we have ever put together, and a number of the selected athletes have opportunities of bringing home medals from Sochi.”