Four years ago speed skater Daniel Greig hit rock bottom.
In his rush to make the 2014 Games, the then 22-year-old virtually destroyed his knees, and was faced with the agonising task of choosing months of painful rehabilitation, or retirement.
“Most people in my sport don’t come back from injuries like mine,” Greig shrugged. “I should have listened to my body, but I was in such a rush to make the Olympics I didn’t really think about anything else.”
Just months after his Sochi Olympic debut, Greig underwent extensive surgery on both knees, and with his prognosis initially looking bleak, there was just one dream that kept him going.
“If I didn’t have a goal as big as the PyeongChang Olympics I wouldn’t have gone through all the rehab so diligently,” he said.
“The biggest thing about me coming back was getting out of the chronic pain. I just wanted to be pain free again.”
And despite numerous set-backs in his recovery, not only is the 26-year-old pain-free, but he says he’s in the best condition of his life.
“I’ve had a fantastic summer of training with very few issues, so I’m as fit as I can be. I don’t think anyone out there has a massive advantage over me in terms of fitness.
“And I’m content, I feel really good. This time around I’ve got more of a handle on how to balance the life of being an elite sports person and still have time for other things.
“With everything that’s happened I have a different perspective on things now. I spent so much time with doctors and physios and I’ve seen that there are a lot of people who live in pain every single day, so I’m so grateful for having the Olympics to spur my rehabilitation on.”
With almost two weeks until he competes, Greig has been hitting the track, getting used to the ice and settling in to the Olympic Village.
“The venue is fantastic,” he said. “A lot of the skaters think the times are going to be really quick here because the conditions are just really good.”
And as for results, Greig is quietly confident.
“This time I’m going to take my time and really savour the experience.
“When I step on the ice I know it’s the result of four years of hard work, and four years of trying to overcome injuries. This time I’m going to really enjoy my skating.
Greig will compete in the 500m and 1000m Speed Skating events on Days 10 and 14 respectively (19 and 243 February)