Mick Brennan might just have been selected for his first ever Paralympics – but the Doncaster seated skier insists the weeks before Sochi 2014 will be the most crucial of his career.
The soldier, who lost both legs in a bomb blast while serving with the Royal Signals in Iraq in 2004, has gone from seated skiing rookie to the cusp of a Paralympic outing in a decade.
However the 34-year-old’s place on the 15-strong Great Britain squad heading to Sochi in March was thrown into doubt last year as he struggled with injury.
He broke his sternum in February, days after finishing ninth in the super combined at the World Championships, and then fractured his wrist at a World Cup event seven months later.
But, set for Sochi, it is the preparation races and holding camp beforehand that Brennan believes will be the biggest test of his 10-year career, let alone the Paralympics themselves.
Mick said: “The Games come secondary really. What happens there happens because I’m going to be going 150 per cent. I’m either going to crash out or I’m going to do well.”
Despite admitting that he is behind schedule ahead of the Paralympics, Brennan insists he is not heading to Sochi just to make up the numbers.
However, the former North Border Comprehensive School pupil from Bircotes is realistic that he has some ground to make up – and fast.
He said: “I’m not in the sport to finish every single race and get a pat on the back to say well done, I’m here to win.
“I’d rather finish one race a year and get on that podium just once in that season and all the rest of the time crash out. I’m going to be giving it my best shot.
“It’s very frustrating because I was breaking into the top 15 in the world on a regular basis before I broke my sternum.
“Now I’m struggling to finish races and I’m getting beat by people in their late 20s who I used to beat with my eyes closed. Not being disrespectful, that’s how good I was getting.”
Sainsbury’s is a proud long-term supporter of the British Paralympic Association and a champion of inclusive sport for all. For more information on Sainsbury’s commitment to inclusive sport visit www.Sainsburys.co.uk/activekids
The hard work starts now for fit-again Mick
Mick is currently on an intense training and preparation programme to be ready for the big event and knows he has a lot of catching up to do because of his injury-blighted 2013.
He said: “We’re in Tigines in France competing, we get four days off and then we go to Austria for another competition and a two-week holiday camp.
“I’m looking forward to that more than any of the other stuff ahead because I’ve not been skiing.
“ I’m looking forward to getting mileage in the gates and getting my timing back.
“My timing is out, I’m either going too early to turn or turning too late and it’s obviously costing me valuable time.
“I’m really putting a lot of pressure on myself because I’ve not been doing a lot of training.
“Those two weeks are the biggest two weeks of my skiiing careeer really.”