Entertainment, Sports

Speed skater Kathryn Thompson hopes Elise Christie will continue to inspire next generation

Kathryn Thomson would welcome Elise Christie taking a coaching role and guiding the next generation of British short track speed skaters.

When Christie retired in December, she tweeted: “for now I’ll be focusing on helping the rest of the team and getting into coaching.”

As the Winter Olympics begin in Beijing without the 2017 world champion, former team-mate Thomson threw open the door for Christie to continue in the sport.

“The whole nation has watched Elise at many Games, she’s an incredible athlete,” said the 26-year-old from Kilmarnock.

“For us, watching her be the best in the world and breaking barriers for our country has been very inspiring.

“Training in the same place as her has allowed us to believe we can do the same thing and she continues to be an inspiration in our sport.

“She often gave us bits of advice but just watching her from afar, watching how she does things, how she competes and races, that’s been quite important to see.

“I’ve not heard (about her coaching) but she’d have a lot to offer as a coach.”

Thomson is the most experienced short track speed skater representing Team GB in China with Farrell Treacy also returning for a second Games.

To the rest of us, one 60-metre ice track seems very much similar to another but Thomson predicts pacy conditions on the Olympic rink, which she tried at last year’s Test Event.

“The ice can be very different at every single venue we go to,” said Thomson, who is one of over 1,000 athletes funded by the National Lottery.

“It was very good to get a go on the ice in November and see what it feels like.

“It’s very fast – we’re going to have some quick races and we’ve been preparing for that. I think that tends to suit me, a fast race can stretch it out and that is where the opportunities are.”

As she did at PyeongChang 2018 Thomson is taking on a treble with the 500m, 1000m and 15000m, a full complement of Olympic events, starting with 500m on Monday.

“Having the fast and furious event out of the way will be quite good so I can focus on the longer ones,” she said. “With the distances building, hopefully the momentum can build at the same time.

“I don’t have a specific target. I’m excited for all three.”

National Lottery players are one of the biggest supporters of Team GB and ParalympicsGB winter athletes and raise more than £30 million each week for good causes including grassroots and elite sport. Discover the positive impact playing The National Lottery has at www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk and get involved by using the hashtag: #TNLAthletes  

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