Smashing her knee in eight places in a career-threatening injury meant Penny Coomes may never have even competed in this week’s Nebelhorn Trophy.
Remarkably that blow came just a year ago. Now, she and figure skating partner Nick Buckland have guaranteed Team GB an ice dance entry at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
And if just taking to the ice was an achievement in itself, going on to win the Olympic qualifying competition takes this accolade to a whole new level.
Leading after the short dance, the Britons ensured their advantage was not to be surrendered in Saturday’s free dance with a solid performance in Oberstdorf, Germany.
That was despite this being a far from familiar routine, threatening even more impressive performances to come as the winter develops.
“For us, it’s our first time we’ve shared our free dance,” said Buckland, who joined forces with Coomes at the 2010 and 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
“It is a big thing to get out a new programme in front of everybody. It wasn’t our best skate, we made a couple of mistakes, we have skated that far better in practice and I’m sure it’s going to improve throughout the season.
“But whether you like it or not, it was Olympic qualification and that was the most important thing for us today and we did that.”
The two-time European bronze medallists scored 105.34 points, setting a new personal best and accumulated 177.13 points overall.
That was highlighted by level-four lifts, a level-four combination spin and level-three footwork, only the twizzles were graded a level two.
Their score was therefore ahead of Kana Muramoto and Chris Reed of Japan as well as Kavita Lorenz and Joti Polizoakis of Germany, also earning spots for their countries in PyeongChang, next year.