Speed Skating

Elise Christie

Last Updated: 26/01/16 12:28pm

Elise Christie is Britain's ice queen

Elise competed in her second Winter Olympics in 2014

Elise had her first experience of the Winter Olympics in 2010 in Vancouver

Elise got into speed skating relatively late after starting out as a figure skater

Elise was born in Livingston but moved down to Nottingham to pursue her dream of skating at the Winter Olympics

Elise shows off her medal won in Canada in a World Cup event

Elise shows off her medal won in Canada in a World Cup event

Fact File

  • DOB: 13/08/1990
    Event: Short Track Speed Skating
    Hometown: Livingston
    International Debut: 2005
  • 2008: World Junior Championships 500m silver
    2009: European Championships 3000m relay gold
    2010: World Cup 1000m bronze
    2010: European Championships 1500m silver
    2010: European Championships 3000m Super Final silver
    2010: Winter Olympics 500m -11th, 1000m - 19th, 1500m - 20th
    2011: World Cup 1000m silver
    2012: World Cup 1000m gold
    2012: World Cup 1500m silver
    2013: European Championships 1500m gold
    2013: European Championships 1000m gold
    2013: World Cup 1000m silver
    2013: World Cup 1500m gold
    2013: World Championships 1000m bronze
    2013: World Cup bronze
    2014: European Championships 1000m gold
    2014: European Championships overall silver
    2014: European Championships 3000m relay silver
    2015: European Championship overall gold, 1500m gold, 500m gold
    2015: World Championship 500m silver, 1000m silver
    2016: European Championship 500m, 1000m, 1500m gold

WHO AM I?

As a very active child, my mum encouraged me to put my energy into sport so at seven I took up figure skating. I always fancied trying another ice sport, so as a hobby I took up speed skating aged 12. I loved it.

It was my bit of fun for the week. Once a week I could get on the ice, I didn't have to be elegant and appearance focused, I could stick a helmet on and bomb round the ice and feel the wind in my hair!

At 15 I did less figure skating, I entered the British Championships for speed skating and was fortunately selected for the British team. I couldn't believe it as I had never been on the development team so the national squad was a big step. Especially seeing as you had to relocate to Nottingham to be part of this amazing opportunity.

After a lot of thought (and encouragement from my mother) I decided to pack up and leave my little town in Scotland and move to the city of Nottingham, not everyone receives such a great opportunity and I am very lucky that I did.

HOW DID YOUR CAREER DEVELOP?

I competed in my first senior World Championships that same season and I then knew that I had to target skating in Vancouver 2010. A few years down the line and I had qualified for the Olympic Games. This was such a mind blowing experience; this led to a massive change in my attitude.

On completion of the Games I decided that it was time to become a different level of athlete. 

I now wanted to not just go to the Olympics, but I wanted to go there with a medal-winning chance. I knew a lot had to change and I met with all the members of support staff to discuss the different little changes I could make to get myself there, I set a yearly plan and finally I changed my mind-set; I decided it could be me and that I had to give myself the best opportunity I could.

I believe that if a person does everything they possibly can to become an Olympic medallist and it doesn't work out, then you cannot be disappointed. I will never be someone that will say 'I'm going to win a medal at the games', but I can guarantee I will do everything I can to give myself the best chance possible.

HOW HAS BEING A SCHOLAR HELPED?

It has helped me in more ways than I believed possible. Coming from a minority winter sport I feel privileged to be a part of the programme and have the opportunity to build such a close relationship with Sky.

A teaser for the Sky Academy TV doc 'I am Elise Christie' aired on Christmas Day on Sky Sports

I feel more confident in my ability, believe in my talents and also feel more comfortable and confident in front of the camera which is a big thing for me. Thanks to the training I've had and the insights experienced at their studios in Livingston - my old stomping ground, I've been able to go behind the scenes and gain unique learning experiences. 

What's more is I've been able to share my experiences with young people - something I again wouldn't have been able to do and something that I love doing. Not only can I share my experiences and offer advice but it also gives me the chance to encourage participation in speed skating, which is super exciting and something that is so important for the sport to ensure there is a future!

Sky has helped my confidence to grow on and off the ice. Through Sky I have been able to meet some great sportsmen and women, who I can learn so much from! The best one of all being my mentor Will Greenwood, it was great to talk through the 'failure' in Sochi with him… 

Sky also helped me take part in one of the best experiences of my life - Riding the Dales. Aside from the obvious great publicity for my sport and me as an athlete, this really helped me to overcome what happened in Sochi and take my mind away from skating for a while.

It was great to have a challenge off the ice for a change. I really learnt a lot about myself during this challenge. It was also a great insight into Will's determination and that really motivated me, seeing that level of grit in a retired sportsperson was inspiring. 

I'm constantly looking at ways to better myself and my training, so it's amazing being able to be more innovative. I'm also able to pay for any testing I need, nutrition, and all the latest technology in recovery methods. 

The really great thing about being a Scholar is that they have really helped in getting short track promoted and out into the public eye. Hundreds of people have taken up short track since Sky has helped promote the sport.

Elise shows off her medal won in Canada in a World Cup event

WHO HAS HELPED?

How did I do this? Simple, and the key is relationships and the support the team and I now have. As a team specifically, we have developed a fantastic bond over the years and having known most of them for longer than I can remember, it really does make all the difference on and off the rink.

But the beauty is that it doesn't stop there. I have amazing family and friends, representation that help me from a management front and now Sky who placed their faith and trust in me and my ability. 

Together, it is all of these people in my circle who help me do what I do on the ring and this season, I hope I repaid a small amount of their faith when I made history at the ISU World Short Track Speed Skating championships becoming the first ever-female Briton to win two medals at the event.

But it doesn't stop there! With Sky's continued support as well as the support from all others, I want to continue to progress, improve and prove myself. It's always about being better for me and I hope with Sky I can do exactly that and realise my potential!