YOU know 2012 was a crazy sporting year when Jenny Meadows won the first major gold of her career without competing in a single race.
But Wigan’s track star is glad to slam the door shut on the past 12-months, as she looks forward to the new year with wide-eyed optimism.
The 31-year-old was plagued by an Achilles problem which prevented her from taking to the track. Her snub from the Team GB squad came on the same day she was upgraded from silver to gold for the previous year’s European Indoor Championships, after the Russian winner failed a doping test.
And with her role in London limited to providing TV and radio commentary, she admits missing out on such a fabulous sporting summer still grates at her.
“I don’t want any more of 2012,” she smiled. “Everyone keeps saying how great it’s been – but I can’t wait for January 1!
“The Olympics was a hard time for me. I watched the women’s 800m final and – with the times I’ve had – I’m still confident I could have got a medal if I’d been fit.
“Even watching the Sports Personality of the Year, I was dreading it! I was happy for everyone involved, but it was disappointed not to be a part of it.”
Meadows reached the semi-finals at the Beijing Olympics four years earlier, and her career had been in the ascendancy since. She won a bronze medal at the World Championships in Berlin in 2009 and a silver medal at the World Indoor Championships in 2010, and was seen as a genuine medal contender for London.
She even delayed surgery on her Achilles because of the outside chance she could overcome the problem with a punishing and long rehab programme in time to race ahead of the Games, and prove her fitness.
But a setback prevented her taking part in a scheduled meet in Helsinki, and she was overlooked for Team GB in what head coach Charles can Commenee described as “very difficult because has’s an absolutely world-class athlete.”
So rather than bask in the spotlight in London, her summer ended with a trip to Sweden for an operation on her troublesome injury.
Four months on, her recovery is right on track and admits “the dark days” are now behind her.
“Everything has gone really well,” the Wigan Harrier said.
“At every stage with my rehab, I couldn’t have asked for it to go better, and the doctors and physios have ben really happy with it.
“It’s been such a long time to progress to get back to where I wanted to be.
“I’ve missed the whole of 2012 and it will still impact on 2013, before I’m back to normality.
“But I’m 90 per cent there and I’m running five days a week – hopefully early in the new year I’ll be 100 per cent.
“I’m pretty confident I will be able to still have a career, and that’s the main thing.
“It was the first major injury like that of my career, and when everything is going well you take it for granted, but this has been a real test of character.”
READ THE FULL INTERVIEW IN THE WIGAN OBSERVER ...