Polish short track skater Natalia Maliszewska has told Eurosport Poland that she is “ashamed” after being unable to compete to the level she knows she can at the Beijing Winter Olympics.
Maliszewska, 26, was one of the favourites for the 500m but was unable to compete after a see-saw saga surrounding a positive Covid-19 test.
She decided to compete in the 1000m for a chance at a medal even though she was inexperienced at that distance.
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After making it to the quarter-finals, she found herself at risk of being knocked out so decided to attack in the final stages of her race, only to fall and crash out completely.
In an exclusive interview with Eurosport Poland after Maliszewska said she felt "like crying" having been unable to do her best for her country.
“I am very sorry,” she began.
“I laughed that I had washed my hair, did my eyelashes, put on a sweatshirt to be in the final. Did not work. Another chance in four years.”
On her decision to attack she said: “It was the only option that came to my mind to be in the third position, giving a chance to advance with a good time.”
“I am ashamed," continued Maliszewska, starting to break down.
“I'm damn proud that I can represent our country, that I have such support.
"I have never felt such a ‘back’ behind me. Coming here, I felt great power, awareness of who I am on the run and what I can do.
“I feel ashamed that I can't do it the way I'd like to do it. I feel like crying.”
Maliszewska told our colleagues at Eurosport Poland that she will do the 1500m and team event in the hope of securing a medal.

What happened with the Covid-19 test?

Maliszewska tested positive on January 30 and immediately went into isolation, thereby ruling her out of the 500m qualifier on February 4.
However, she was suddenly and unexpectedly released from isolation on the day of the qualifying session.
But as she was preparing herself for the qualifying she then tested positive again and had to go back into isolation, once again meaning she could not compete in her best event.
She later tested negative again which allowed her to compete in the 1000m and other events - but at that stage it was too late for the 500m.
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