Sochi has so far not been the kindest place to Amanda Lightfoot, but the British biathlete insists she is hellbent on changing all that at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Despite enjoying her best World Cup season to date last time out – finishing 68th overall – the campaign still ended on a sour note for Lightfoot.
At March’s World Cup in Sochi – doubling up as the Olympic test event – the 26-year-old fell badly in the 15km individual, putting a premature end to her season.
And a week later Lightfoot discovered that the extent of her knee injury was worse than first feared and she underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus.
However Lightfoot is once again fighting fit and raring to go as she looks to earn one of two GB spots up for grabs in the 2013-14 World Cup that kicks off next month in Sweden.
Although selection is not confirmed until January, Lightfoot has done enough to qualify for next year’s Games already with Great Britain having a quota for one man and one woman.
And she admits she is determined to return to Sochi as she looks to turn her last nightmare outing into a dream performance on the biggest stage of all.
“I actually have to re-qualify for the World Cup this season as I had an accident in Sochi last time,” she said.
“I came off track and injured my knee which needed surgery in April. I was going downhill, down a right-hand bend and hit ice and came flying off and crashed into a tree, or at least I think, I don’t have much memory of it.
“I was really disheartened because I thought will I be able to run again?
“But it is better to get it out of the way now. It is forgotten and I have done a lot of course memory and mental processes on how I will take the track on next time to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”
In fact, Lightfoot believes winning the battle in her own head could make all the difference as she bids for Olympic glory in February.
“I will be more mentally prepared for Sochi if I get selected,” she added. “It is something I did off my own back really.
“It started with self-motivation tapes and I find if you imagine yourself going round the track and every corner it could make a difference.
“Girls from Germany and France rely on technique and I look at them and think ‘wow, I want to skate like these girls’.
“But for us, Britain being a smaller nation when it comes to the sport, it is impossible so for me I try and make it up in other areas and for me it is the mental side of things.”
© Sportsbeat 2013