Eilidh Gibson not giving up on Olympic dreams after 'last resort' shoulder surgery

By Tyrone SmithBBC Scotland Sport
Eilidh Gibson hopes to be back in the water in the next few months
Eilidh Gibson hopes to be back in the water in the next few months

Scots canoeist Eilidh Gibson says she won't give up on her Olympic dreams, despite undergoing shoulder surgery in a "last resort" bid to save her career.

The former World and European team gold medallist missed most of last year due to osteolysis - a condition which meant her clavicle bone was breaking down.

Gibson initially tried to remedy it by taking time off.

And discovering she needed surgery - which she had in July - left her "questioning everything".

"It has been one of the most challenging things I have gone through," said the 23-year-old. "I have not really paddled for a consistent block pain-free for almost three years now, and if I want to continue canoeing that was really the only option.

"They shaved off the end of my clavicle bone to take it back to healthy bone and now I am in the rehab stages of that surgery.

"These are my dreams, my goals since I was very young. And to not be able to train how I want to has led to me not being in the shape that I want to and lots of disappointment. When you can see your competitors out there training, that is all you want to do and your body is not letting you. It is pretty hard.''

Eilidh Gibson
Gibson admits she will have mixed emotions watching the Olympics from home next summer

Gibson, from Kinross, has missed out on selection for next year's Tokyo Olympics and a chance to make history at a Games where her event - the women's C1 slalom - is being included for the first time.

She admits she'll have mixed emotions when watching from home next summer.

"There is always going to be that bit in your head that wishes it was you," she said. "But I love promoting women in sport and I will feel super proud of whoever does go, and of course will want them to do well."

Gibson hopes to be back training in the water over the coming months. While admitting the road to recovery is "a pretty lonely process" her Olympic ambitions are driving her on.

"I have wanted to go to the Olympics since I was eight, and that still very much is a dream of mine," she added. "I am just focusing now on getting my body to a place that I am able to train and then for sure Paris [2024 Olympics] is on the dream board."

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