Elise Christie: Skater ready to race after family death

By Nick HopeBBC Olympic sports reporter
Elise Christie
Christie became the first British woman to win an individual short track speed skating world medal in 2013
ISU World short track speed skating
Venue: Moscow, Russia Date: 13-15 March
Coverage: Reports on the BBC Sport website

Elise Christie will compete in the World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Russia this week, despite a bereavement in her family.

Christie's paternal grandmother died earlier this month, whilst her maternal grandmother also passed away in 2014.

Last year was also a difficult one for the skater on the ice, having been controversially denied medals in each of her three Sochi Olympic events.

"She's quiet, but battling on," GB official Stuart Horsepool said.

The British team's performance director told BBC Sport: "We can't fix the problem, only time will do that for her.

"However, we have a good support team who are trying to keep her focused on tasks rather than the emotional side of the sport."

Jack Whelbourne on girlfriend Elise Christie
"What happened in Sochi was upsetting and a big learning curve," he said. "It's definitely changed how she sees skating and with recent things she's gone into events with that pressure off and at the Europeans she was untouchable - it's a joy to watch her."

Christie became the first British woman to win an individual short track speed skating world medal by finishing third at the 2013 Championships in Hungary and is one of a seven-strong GB team competing in Moscowexternal-link from Friday to Sunday.

She initially endured a difficult winless return to the sport at the start of this season, but after claiming three European titles in January, finished her World Cup campaign with four medals in two events.

Charlotte Gilmartin, who narrowly missed out on European honours herself this year, completes the women's team.

In-form Jack Whelbourne headlines the men's line-up, which also includes Team GB Olympic flag-bearer Jon Eley, Josh Cheetham, Billy Simms and Richard Shoebridge.

Whelbourne, 23, who competed at both the Vancouver and Sochi Olympics, has recently begun to regularly challenge for places in World Cup finals for the first time in his career.

"I feel like I should have skated this well for a long time," he told BBC Sport.

"Coming from junior to senior, it didn't quite click, but now I'm more relaxed and confident."

The British team have been set a minimum targetexternal-link of a top-five and top-eight finish at the World Championships by UK Sport.