There might be more than three years to go until the next Winter Olympics but rising alpine skier Darcie Mead is already plotting her course to the slopes of PyeongChang.
A broken hand suffered in December hampered Mead’s progress last season and torn ligaments this year have meant a stuttering start to the current campaign.
But Mead is now close to a return to full fitness and is keen to make her mark at the beginning of a fresh four-year Winter Olympic cycle.
Mead wasn’t part of the British team at the Sochi Games – indeed only Chemmy Alcott and Dave Ryding represented the nation in alpine skiing.
But she knows her career is still in its infancy and, after experiencing the World Junior Championships in Slovakia, she says her sights are now set on the biggest stage of all.
“I’ve had a rocky season with injuries and I was gutted to miss out on the Olympics but hopefully I’ll be there in 2018,” she said.
“I broke my hand in December, tore the ligaments and then re-tore them this year so I had surgery in July and the key now is getting fit again.
“It was disappointing to miss the Games, I think it came down to my age and experience but there’s another Games in four years and I’m going to train even harder to make sure I’m sure, build up the experience and in the long run hopefully it’ll pay off.
“My goal for 2014 was to compete in the World Junior Championships and I did, so I achieved my main goal and I’m proud of that and look forward to moving on.
“I’m number one in Britain but not the world so I’ve got to keep focused and keep training to get better and that keeps me motivated.”
While Mead was disappointed to miss out on this year’s Winter Olympics she knows she has a lot to learn and is targeting medals of a different kind in Sochi in 2016.
The Russian resort will play host to the World Junior Championships and Mead believes it can be the perfect platform to propel her into Olympic contention.
“It’s been really full on this summer, I had surgery in July so was out for the whole month and then I was away for nine weeks in New Zealand training,” she added.
“It’s very rewarding after all the injuries I had to overcome that it didn’t affect me and to be recognised in my country as a strong athlete.
“I’m focusing on my training at the moment and trying to come back from injuries. I want to nail my technique and hopefully I can compete again at the World Junior Championships in 2016 and use the next four years as a building block for the Olympics.”
© Sportsbeat 2014