Taking a deep interest in athletics since primary school, Christine Nesbitt participated in track and field, cross country, and ice hockey from an early age, the latter of which received most of her attention until she turned 12, at which time her focus shifted to short track speed skating. At the age of 13 she won a silver medal in the 3000 m relay team event at the Canada Winter Olympics and set many provincial records as a junior over the next four years, a tenure that she capped off by winning bronze in the same event in 2003.
It was that year that Nesbitt began attending the University of Calgary for engineering and training for long track speed skating. In 2005 she joined the Canadian National Team in the sport, earned the "Rising Star Award" and, during the 2005-2006 season, took one bronze and two silver medals in World Cup events. During 2006-2007 her career in the sport accelerated and, by the end of the 2008-2009 season, she had acquired ten more bronze, seventeen more silver, and five gold medals at World Cup events, as well as three gold, one silver, and two bronze medals at World Championship events. In addition, she took silver at the 2006 Winter Olympics in the team pursuit event (one in which she has been a two-time World Champion), making her the first Australian-born speed skating medalist. In early 2009 she injured her head in a training accident and missed the 1,500 m event at the World Single Distance Championships, but was quickly back on the ice and claiming gold in the 1,000 m event. Her greatest success came in 2010, however, when she captured Olympic gold in the 1,000 m competition at that year's Winter Olympics. Despite being struck by an SUV while bicycling during the summer following the Games, she recovered rapidly and qualified for the 2010-2011 World Cup season.