Speed-skater Elise Christie hopes training with men and “learning to lose” will boost her medal prospects leading into the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Christie, 26, was controversially disqualified three times at Sochi 2014, but impressed by winning World Cup and European honours last season.
She begins her 2016-17 World Cup campaign in Calgary, Canada, on Friday.
“I have been racing boys in training, destroying my ego and improving my skills,” she told BBC Sport.
“Their power is higher than mine so if I try to overtake I have to get it really spot on, so it’s taught me a lot about not just using my speed and being faster, but using the skills in the right way.”
Christie is one of the fastest starters in the world and is renowned for powering to the front and trying to remain there throughout the race.
However, after the disappointments of the last Olympics and missing out on the World Championship title last season, she feels the need to revise her tactics.
“I suffered a lot in my normal life outside of sport after the Olympics, it changed me as a person and I lost a lot of confidence,” she said. “I’ve moved forward since then though and am a totally different skater.
“It [racing with men] teaches me about being able to cope with losing – you don’t want to be ok with it, but you have to accept it.”
Christie has won eight career World championship medals and defeated 2016 1000m champion Choi Min-jeong of South Korea just weeks ahead of the event, before injury scuppered her bid for a maiden gold.
The Nottingham-based speed-skater is determined to finally land the top honour this season and sees world success as the next step towards securing Olympic glory in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
“My main focus is the World Championships [in Rotterdam, March 2017], but I’m going to be using the World Cup races to try something a little different,” said Christie.
“My coach [Nicky Gooch] wants me to try and finish second in some races – not in the finals, but in qualifying – because finishing second means I’ll be more involved in the race and learn more.”
Christie is joined in the Calgary World Cup squad by Olympic team-mates Charlotte Gilmartin, Jack Whelbourne and Richard Shoebridge.
Kathryn Thomson, Jennifer Pickering, Sam Morrison, Hannah Morrison, Farrell Treacy, Josh Cheetham and Billy Simms make up the rest of the GB line-up.
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/winter-sports/37732778