Christie 'overwhelmed' by Olympics

There are many much more experienced athletes who have been caught in the bright lights of the Olympic circus - only to become the clowns - but Elise Christie should feel no shame about her debut in Vancouver.

Eurosport

At just 19, Christie is one of the youngest members of the 52-strong Great Britain team in Vancouver and is first to admit she has found the whole experience a little overwhelming.

In a team of few genuine medal chances, Christie was being touted by some as a podium prospect, after 1500m silver medal at the recent European Championships in Dresden.

It was an unfair and ultimately unrealistic burden, as Christie failed to progress beyond the heats in her favoured 1000m and 1500m and made the quarter-finals of the 500m.

However, she remains genuinely a name for the future, if she continues to chart her impressive rise through the senior ranks.

"I think all of us in the British short track team, except two, are experiencing our first Olympics," she said. 

"There has been a lot of emotion and you try to keep yourself calm but it is hard because it is the Olympics and I have honestly struggled with that.

"I think what affected me the most was a lack of experience and the whole aura of being at the Games.

"It's been amazing and great fun and maybe it's good to come at such a young age and get all that first time excitement out of the way.

"In Sochi I will know what to expect and that will certainly help my focus.

"I need another four years to start competing with the very top girls on a regular and consistent basis.

"I've proved I can do it, I just need to make it something that happens more regularly."

After the failure of reigning world champions in men's curling and women's bobsleigh, short track speed skater Jon Eley is considered the last chance for Great Britain's team to add to Amy Williams's gold medal success in the skeleton.

Eley was a finalist in Turin four years ago but will need a bit of luck to upgrade that per formance in a strong field of north American and Korean skaters.

And no-one will be cheering louder than Christie.

Winter sports currently received £6.5 million to fund an Olympic cycle, in contrast to the £400m being spent preparing athletes for London 2012.

Christie's short track team is one of the better funded - and requires a medal, or at least a final appearance, to justify that arrangement continuing to Sochi.

"I think the next four years are exciting, don't just judge us on the Olympics, this is a young team that has had some really positive results," she adds.

However, team coach Nicky Gooch - the last British skater to win a short track Olympic medal in Lillehammer 16 years ago - is more realistic and admits the pressure is on.

"If you are receiving funding then you expected to deliver and I agree with that. It's a pressure but we have to deal with that," he said.

"However, if you compare our funding to the summer sports, or what the Canadians receive, there is a difference in good funding.

"I'm not begrudging what we get and I'm grateful for it. I do expect to deliver medals."

Follow the Winter Olympics 24/7 on British Eurosport (Sky 410 / Virgin 521) and EurosportHD (Sky 412). British Eurosport channels are streamed online via the Eurosport Player.

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