The Olympic speed skater Elise Christie has spoken for the first time about the night she was raped as a 19-year-old in Nottingham. In an interview before the release of her autobiography, Resilience, the three-time world short track champion explained her desire to help other victims by revealing her own sexual assault.
The incident occurred after she had returned from the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games on a night out when the attacker slipped her a date-rape drug in a bar before taking her back to his house. “There are not many people I’ve spoken to about it – I had to even tell my mum because she wasn’t aware,” the 31-year-old told the Daily Telegraph.
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“I felt victim-shamed, almost, by what happened. I wasn’t left in a bush, battered and beaten up, so back then I thought: ‘It’s not rape.’”
Christie, who represented Great Britain in three Winter Olympics, has been open in the past about her struggles with mental health having received death threats on social media. Close to Christmas 2018, Christie contemplated taking her own life, having suffered huge disappointment at that year’s Games in Pyeongchang, where she fell in the 500m and 1500m before a disqualification in the 1,000m. Four years earlier, she had been targeted by South Korean fans online after a collision with Park Seung-hi at the Sochi Games.
Christie said: “It was a big step to even talk about the assault in the first place. I’ve always talked about the fact that I want to help people. There are so many women who have gone through or who might be going through this same situation right now and won’t speak up either.”The Scot is feeling optimistic before her attempt to qualify for next February’s Winter Games in Beijing. After returning from three previous Olympics without a medal, Christie knows making it to China is about more than being on the podium.
“It’s just about finishing the competition,” she said. “There is not one distance at the Olympic Games that I have finished.
“I know that physically I’m not going to be what I was, but I still have the ability to medal. “But it won’t just be about medalling. I also want to be the girl who helped others turn their lives around and the girl who has turned her life around and has come back. That’s why I try to set that example.”