Perth slalom star Charlie Guest is back from the brink in time for a second shot at the Winter Olympics - insisting there's 'more to come' than her recent lifetime best.
The 28-year-old nearly hung up her skis after a difficult Olympic debut at PyeongChang 2018, derailed by a back injury, spending more than a year away from top-level racing.
Having been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 2020, Guest is back and better than ever, bagging a lifetime best 13th at the Schladming World Cup slalom this month.
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And the Scot said: "The biggest thing for me is how different the preparation has been going into this Games.
"I came into 2018 incredibly injured and in a really bad place, mentally and everything, although I still loved my Olympic experience.
"At the end of that year I decided I was leaving the sport and going to university and now I'm picking up some historic results and staying in skiing.
"It's been about consistency and having the support and the team around me. That's allowed me to stay healthy, number one, and then on top of that, build confidence.
"Now I'm at a point where I stand in the start gate and I know that my skin is fast, I know that the turns I can do are good enough.
"And I know that on any given day, I can put down a top 15 or top ten performance."
Guest has raced three times on the World Cup circuit in 2022 and made the top 20 on each occasion, having only done so once before in her career.
Her first Games saw her form part of the British mixed parallel team that finished fifth in South Korea and she came 33rd in the individual slalom.
Staying fit has been the only priority for Guest in recent years and she credits the support of the National Lottery with giving her the support system to do so.
"Thanks to the support of the National Lottery, I've got a programme that's built for me and it's delivering results," said Guest, who is one of over 1,000 athletes able to train full-time, access the world's best coaches and benefit from pioneering technology, science and medical support thanks to vital National Lottery funding.
"The team have got this common goal of how they can get me skiing fast and all the decisions my physio, coach and technician make are geared towards that.
"I'm the strongest I've ever been and I'm really excited to see where we can go."
Women's slalom skiing has been dominated by USA's Mikaela Shiffrin and Slovakia's Petra Vlhova in recent seasons.
The field behind those two looks wide open and Guest feels opportunity knocks for her and the chasing pack.
"I think women's slalom is a really exciting place to be at the moment," said Guest, who hopes to add to the 1,000-plus medals achieved by British athletes since the advent of National Lottery funding to elite sport in 1997.
"And even then both Petra and Shiffrin have shown that they can't always get it right 100 per cent of the time, and that people can break through.
"I think my goal coming into the season was to be top 15 at the Olympics. But with the form I've shown over the last month, it feels like anything is possible.
"When we get closer to the Games, the pressure piles on the top performers to pick up the golds and make these historic numbers.
"For people like myself, there's absolutely nothing to lose and so I think it's quite a powerful position to be in."
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