In the days of auld lang syne ~ Passion/Patin/Vitesse - Passion/Speed/Skating


14 décembre 2021

In the days of auld lang syne

Elise Christie officially announced her retirement today.

By Carl Savard
Photo by Martin Holtom

Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and auld lang syne

I clearly remember when I first witnessed Elise Christie skating. It was during the Vancouver Olympics. I had been interested in short track speed skating for a very long time and used to follow the performances of Canadian athletes, but like too many sports fans, my interest was mostly focused on the competitions at the Olympics. As I had done at all previous Games since the arrival of short track at the Olympics, I intended to follow the races closely. Elise was 20 years old at the time and it was clear that technically and strategically she was not yet on par with the greats of the sport, but there was no doubt about her potential and physical strength. A diamond in the rough. In her quarter-final heat in the 500m, she skated against Marianne St-Gelais, among others. She seemed faster at times than the Canadian, but did not have the tools to take the lead. These games were the beginning of a great career for Elise Christie and also changed something for my family. The following fall my son started short track and for the past 5 years we have been together at the helm of Passion/Speed/Skating.

Dare to be honest and fear no labor

When I noticed her at the Olympics in 2010, I never thought I would eventually write articles about the sport and have the opportunity to sit with athletes and chat. I remember being nervous about my interview with Elise in 2018. To me it was clear she was working hard, she was strong and was doing the best she could with the tools she had and the ones her federation could offer. I felt like I had seen her grow in the sport and I had become a fan and sometimes, as fans we can be disappointed when we have the opportunity to meet with the athletes we have cheered for. When I was finally able to have a moment with her, someone had just spilled a coffee on her and I remember being afraid she would want to cut short the interview. She didn’t. She was honest, funny, open. We talked for almost an hour about the good and the bad, about sport but also about life. Even though life may have been even tougher after we met, just like on the ice she pushed through, worked hard and came out a winner. I know the ultimate goal was to win at the Olympics, but I’m one of those who thinks world champion is much better than olympic champion. 

O Champion, my Champion.

Lang may yer lum reek!

Enough with my feelings, here’s Elise’s official statement. 

I’ve been putting this off. 

I will have a lot to say and I know a lot of people with have a lot of questions… but for now it’s time to announce my retirement from short track speed skating. 

This won’t be the last you’ll see of me in sport, but I’m taking a new venture down a different path. 

Part of my heart will always be missing because I never achieved my end goal. But I leave this sport knowing it’s left in good hands, with skaters capable of doing what I didn’t.

I changed this sport in this country, I defied odds, never made excuses for having less than my opponents, and I walk away with over 70 World Cup/European and world championship medals, and a fourth place at the Olympics…. Only three of those medals are in team events. I also broke a world record. 

I am not a decorated Olympian but I am a decorated athlete. 

I’m sorry I let you all down, and I’m so thankful to so many people… especially @uk_sport who stuck by me my entire career. 

For now I’ll be focusing on helping the rest of the team and getting into coaching… I won’t reveal for now my sporting plans for 2026, but the Olympic medal dream isn’t over. 

Lots of love everyone


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