Curling silver; Christie misery
A review of Friday's Winter Olympics action involving British athletes, including a silver for the men's curling team and more misery for Elise Christie.
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Elise Christie was left heartbroken after completing a hat-trick of unwanted short track eliminations and David Murdoch's men's curlers missed out on a gold medal on day 14 of the Sochi Winter Olympics.
Murdoch, Greg Drummond, Scott Andrews and Michael Goodfellow could console themselves with a silver medal after crashing to a 9-3 final defeat against Canada at the Ice Cube Curling Center.
The 35-year-old skip had achieved a lifetime ambition when qualification through the semi-final against Sweden had guaranteed him his first Olympic medal at the third time of asking, after falling short at Turin, 2006 and Vancouver, 2010.
And the silver meant Britain had matched their best ever Winter Olympics medals haul of four - at Chamonix 1924 - with two days of the Games remaining.
But there was no such comfort for Christie, who has endured a nightmare time in Sochi.
After disqualification in the final of the 500 metres - which prompted threatening messages on social media - and a 'did not finish' ruling in her 1500m heat, Christie was surely due a slice of luck.
But after qualifying comfortably in her quarter-final at the Iceberg Skating Palace, she went tumbling, along with China's Li Jianrou, in her semi and both girls were disqualified for impeding, leaving race winner Shim Suk Hee and another Chinese skater, Fan Kexin, to go through.
Christie said: "I thought I'd just save my energy and try to smash it at the end, and I knew if I kept patient I had the speed, so that is what I went to do.
"When I was coming around the outside, I saw they went wide because they knew I was coming. So that is why I switched inside and then pulled tight early, and thought 'I've done it'.
"I didn't need to go for the win - I thought 'I've qualified, that's what I need, and I need to save my energy for the final.'
"But unfortunately, I got knocked from behind unexpectedly and fell over but I still thought it would be fine. And then I got the penalty."
Asked if she knew exactly what the penalty was for, the 23-year-old said: "Vaguely - I've not talked it through with them but he (the referee) said I pushed her over."
She added: "The problem with short track is that the referees are always different and there is no kind of consistency because every referee has a different opinion.
"I always respect the referee's final decision, and I have to accept it anyway because that is short track, but I don't agree with it."
Christie's latest calamity at the Iceberg Skating Palace was a bitter blow for Team GB and came hot on the heels of Murdoch's mauling at the hands of the aggressive Canadians skipped by Brad Jacob.
Britain made a poor start and found themselves trailing 5-1 after just three ends. They lost another point in the sixth before Lockerbie-born Murdoch ended his misery by offering handshakes with two ends remaining.
"We let them take a two on us early, we didn't get it back and we didn't have a good end in the third and that was the game-changer," said Murdoch.
He could not commit to attempting to go one better in four years' time when the Games move to Pyeongchang, South Korea, looking first to spend some time in the sun with his Canadian wife, Stephanie.
"It's maybe the start of something special for this team and these guys so I will have a think," said Murdoch. "I will speak to my wife. I'm overdue a holiday and a honeymoon.
"I still have that desire, maybe now I have silver I will come back and try for a gold. I really don't know."
Asked if the defeat had left him with mixed emotions, Murdoch added: "It just feels that you have had a kick in the teeth.
"Once that is over we will look at what we have achieved and it's a silver medal, something I have chased for such a long time.
"I'm really proud of the guys for everything we did."
Back at the Iceberg Skating Palace, Christie's team-mate Jon Eley came through his heat in second place before his medal bid came to an end in the semi-finals when he finished fourth and last. He went on to finish third in the B final.
Britain's final chance for a medal at Sochi 2014 lies with the four-man bobsleigh GBR1 team piloted by John Jackson, who has battled back from a serious Achilles injury sustained in the summer and was third fastest in the sixth and final training heat on Friday.
Jackson's challenge begins with the opening two runs on Saturday and concludes with the final two on Sunday at the Sanki Sliding Center.