Brett Wild feared he and Millie Knight wouldn’t be ready to even challenge for medals at the Paralympic Winter Games.
One race and one downhill silver medal later, the Glaswegian alpine skier couldn’t be happier for his Pyeongchang prediction to be well and truly misguided.
One year ago the visually impaired duo, right, were knocked sideways after Knight was injured in a serious crash, with confidence knocked ever since that tough outing.
Indeed, right up until the starting gate the demons were lurking for Wild and the 19-year-old he was guiding – one 1:30.58 run later and they were laid to rest.
Now, with one silver medal secured and the pressure off, the Scot feels the pair are in place to show what they can do.
“It’s absolutely fantastic. This season was so challenging with the ups and downs and we’ve been slowly edging back to a position I know and that we’ve shown we’re capable of,” he said.
“I was so nervous that we were going to be a little bit too late – I thought that after the Games we’d be at our peak, but to be there in Pyeongchang and to be so close to that gold medal, it’s amazing.
“I know Millie thrives on confidence, she gets better and better and will gain a lot of strength from this. It’s a big hurdle to have reached.
“That just makes me so excited for the next four races. I wanted to believe and I was screaming at her to move the whole way down the course, so it definitely caught me by surprise to be on that podium.
“Millie’s not had the belief in herself. That’s been the hardest thing over the past few months, but now she’s got that she’ll actually listen to me when I tell her we’ve got this!”
Knight made history as ParalympicsGB’s youngest athlete when aged 15 at Sochi 2014 but for Wild this is a first slice of the Winter Games action.
And with four more events to follow on from the downhill, starting with today’s Super-G, there’s a feeling that the sky is now the limit for a pair no longer shackled to the past.
Their skiing ability has never been in doubt – becoming downhill world champions just last year – but now the belief is back.
◆ 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 http://www.j-sainsbury.co.uk/