Shoulder surgery, being forced to find a new partner and having to uproot your entire life is enough to make anyone consider calling it a day.
But, after watching the cream of British canoe slalom battle for selection without him, Etienne Stott insists he has scarcely been hungrier to get back out on the water.
Since becoming the first Britons to win Olympic canoe slalom gold thanks to his C2 success with Tim Baillie at London 2012, Stott’s career has hit the buffers.
A dislocated shoulder meant he was forced to abandon his 2013 season in July and while he has been fighting back to full fitness Baillie has hung up his paddle.
The sport was never going to wait for Stott and in his absence Brits Richard Hounslow and David Florence became world champions in his discipline and earlier this month the British squad for the 2014 season was selected.
However the 34-year-old is not ready to throw in the towel any time soon, despite a new partner and life in London – to be closer to Lee Valley White Water Centre – no closer in sight.
“My rehab is approaching its end now. I have just started back on the white water rafting and I am hoping in a month or six weeks I should be back to full training so it is the beginning of the end now of an epically long process,” said Stott.
“I watched the selection trials and did a bit of commentary and it was hard actually because watching made me miss racing and being out there and enjoying the sport.
“But to watch it was really exciting actually and it was inspiring and rekindled my love a little bit because when you are on your own and rehabbing the whole time it can ebb and flow so it was really cool.
“For me this year will be about consolidating my shoulder, recovering from that and getting back to full status, finding a new teammate and really sorting my life out.
“I am going to have to relocate if I continue towards the Rio Olympics because I am going to have to move from Nottingham to London and that means moving my house, my life and my wife as well so that needs a lot of careful thinking about.
“But with any luck that will all be organised by the end of this year and I can concentrate fully on getting to Rio.”
World champions Florence and Hounslow – who finished runners-up to Stott and Baillie at London 2012 – will be joined on the global stage this season by Adam Burgess and Greg Pitt and Matt Lister and Rhys Davies.
But, having been sidelined for almost a year, Stott is no rush to find a replacement for Baillie in order to fight his way back to the upper echelons of British canoeing.
“Finding a new crewmate is quite a complicated and difficult process and it needs to be done once and for good,” added Baillie, speaking at a Get Set to Make a Change outing at Holme Pierrepont.
“There isn’t going to be much time to trial and test different people out, it is going to be about finding one good person and getting started straight away with them.
“That means carefully considering what to do, talking a little bit about how best to do things. It hasn’t really started yet.
“But once I am more confident in my shoulder then I will be more confident and say ‘it is good to train with me’ whereas now they might be wondering if I will be fit or strong enough.
“So I need to get to that level first and then we can take it from there.”
© Sportsbeat 2014