Charlie Guest marked the closing stages of the 2015/16 World Cup season in upbeat mode, expressing confidence in her return from career threatening injury and despite narrowly missing out on a second slalom run in the Slovak resort of Jasna Chopok.
Posting a 36th position from a bib number of 50, more than 2.5 seconds adrift of first run leader Mikaela Shiffrin, Charlie told Racer Ready her disappointment at missing the run-off and scoring World Cup points was offset by out-performing some of the world’s elite athletes on a hill that she had raced as a junior.
She said: “The last two seasons have really just been totally filled with injuries, and I feel I am constantly on a rehab programme, and having to adjust to what I want to do and what my body can actually do. To be able to come here and have a chance in the World Cup again, that’s what matters.
“Mid-30s is disappointing to miss out on the second run, but I feel I can be proud of it and take that away with me. I feel I’m on the up and that I can continue to take a few tenths of a second off my times. It is a good place to be, and I don’t think I could have got any lower than was back in November.
“With every athlete, the family is the backbone of what you do. I have to thank my mum and dad for everything. They have given up so much to enable me to do this. Of course it would be awesome if they were here. They’re working far too hard to keep me on the slopes, to be over here watching me on the slopes.”
Her sponsors – a range of sports and leisure retailers – had “stuck with me for the last four years and I couldn’t do without them”.
Guest’s 36th placing from a start list of 60 was a personal morale booster on a hill that hasn’t staged a World Cup FIS event since 1984. It was unfamiliar territory for many of the leading athletes – including Shiffrin – and got the better of top names including Lara Gut. The partisan 17,000 local crowd (who were admitted to the racecourse free of any entry charge) were rewarded with second and third placed initial runs by Petra Vlhova and Veronika Velez Zuzulova.
After the race Guest explained: ” Jasna was cool. It was really awesome to be able to race in the World Cup again.. and just 0.6 from the 30 is frustrating but I know where I can find that.”
Guest added “I am still hoping to get back into GS, but we have to really be careful. I have the Europa Cup finals next week.”
But the hill is not unfamiliar to Guest, who has previously raced Jasna in Junior Championships.
“I have had so many bad days but there are good times between them. Getting into the top 20 in the Europa Cup has really helped me to get rid of any self-doubts. I have no idea about next season. I have a lot of decisions to make around the program I want to follow but what I do know is that there will be a lot of skiing.”
Credit: Richard Orange / Orchard Media. All rights reserved