Christie clears first hurdle in bid to banish Sochi nighmare in Pyeongchang

Elise Christie overcomes nerves to cruise through 500m
By Mark Staniforth, Press Association Sport Olympics Correspondent, Pyeongchang

The Scot set an Olympic record in her heat but her time was quickly beaten.

Elise Christie safely negotiated her first heat of the women’s 500m short-track at the Gangneung Ice Arena on Saturday night as she looks to shake off her triple disqualification nightmare from Sochi.

The 27-year-old led from start to finish ahead of China’s Chunyu Qu and briefly set an Olympic record time of 42.872 – although her mark was later beaten by South Korean Minjeong Chong.

 

“You can’t avoid the fact you’re at an Olympics – there are rings everywhere. So I’m just glad I got the first one out of the way.”

 

A relieved Elise Christie after winning her 500m short track heat at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics (David Davies/PA Images)

Christie’s team-mates Charlotte Gilmartin and Kat Thomson both crashed out early, as did Pharrell Treacy in the heats of the men’s 1500m.

The host nation grabbed their first gold of the Games amid deafening cheers at the Gangneung Ice Arena as Hyojun Lim won a dramatic nine-man final ahead of Sjinkie Knegt of the Netherlands.

Great Britain’s snowboarders suffered further bad luck as Jamie Nicholls, Billy Morgan and Rowan Coultas all failed to qualify for the final of the men’s snowboard slopestyle.

With only the top six from each heat moving through to Sunday’s final, Nicholls and Morgan finished eighth and 10th respectively while Coultas fell on both of his runs in his first Olympics.

Nicholls said: “I felt so confident – the right mindset, feeling really good about my snowboarding, better that I have throughout my whole career. You only get two runs and if it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out.”

Norway’s Marit Bjoergen made Winter Olympic history with a silver medal in the women’s cross-country skiathlon which made her the most decorated female athlete in Winter Games history, with 11 medals to her name.

Britain’s Annika Taylor placed 60th out of the 61 finishers while Amanda Lightfoot finished 67th in the women’s 7.5km sprint, which meant she missed out on a place in Monday’s team pursuit.

British lugers AJ Rosen and Rupert Staudinger stand 24th and 33rd respectively at the half-way point of the men’s luge competition which is set to conclude on Sunday.

In an historic ice hockey match there was no dream start for the unified Korean team, who were beaten 8-0 by Switzerland at the Kwandong Hockey Centre despite the best efforts of the watching North Korean Cheerleading Squad.