Success for GB Short Track on final day at European Championships
Elise Christie won overall silver at the European Championships after claiming gold in the 1000m on the final day of the championships in Dresden. On top of this, Christie went on to claim silver in the 3000m relay with teammates Charlotte Gilmartin, Alex Stanley and Kathryn Thomson ahead of Russia, Hungary and Italy, who all qualified for the Sochi Olympics.
Christie said: ďI had a hard first few days. I skated well in the 1500m, but had a few technical difficulties that hindered my performance. Then I fell over in the 500m and that was a hard fall, so I didnít really expect to make a comeback like I did today. Overall it was all good preparation for Sochi, and getting this practice on my racing will really help me at the Games.Ē
For Alex Stanley, 25, the girls relay silver medal was made all the more special by the fact that she had made the decision to retire from the sport after the European Championships prior to the event. Stanley, who has been competing for Great Britain for ten years, made a career first by reaching the final at the Europeanís and the medal was only her second European Championship medal, as she previously won gold in the same event in 2008 after competing in the heats.
Stanley, who is from Nottingham, said: ďTo finally skate to our potential feels amazing and it was great to go out on a high with a European medal on my final ever race and share this moment with the girls. At the same time Iím very sad to retire from the sport, especially after that race because it makes me feel like I want to carry on in the sport. But Iím delighted to go out on that performance as itís a moment Iíll never forget.Ē
In his 1000m heat, Jack Whelbourne made a miraculous recovery from a stumble on his blade whilst attempting an overtake. The Nottingham born skater was forced to glide on one foot whilst attempting to regain his balance, but managed to then overtake the second place skater on the final bend and qualify for the quarter-finals. However, both Whelbourne and Richard Shoebridge both finished third in their respective quarterfinals and finished 10th and 7th respectively.
Performance Director Stuart Horsepool said: ďThe four skaters who competed individually here (Christie, Gilmartin, Shoebridge and Whelbourne) have all performed well, however we do still have some work to do before the Games. The Europeanís have highlighted a few areaís we need to work on, but we can take a lot of positives out of these championships.Ē
He added: ďIím also delighted that Alex (Stanley) has ended her career on such a high. It will be sad to see her go because sheís been a part of the team for a long time, however it was a fantastic end to a great short track career.Ē
The five skaters who have been selected for the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, will now travel directly to the Team GB Kitting Out Experience at the adidas warehouse in Stockport, where they will receive all their kit for the Games and give their final interviews before flying to Sochi at the end of the month.
For full results from the European Championships, please visit shorttrack.sportresult.com/.