There's been some trying times since her Commonwealth Games gold medal in 2018, but Kathryn Mitchell is back and ready to try and reach a third Olympic Games.
Since landing that career highlight on the Gold Coast more than two years ago, Mitchell has battled a range of issues including injury and family sickness and, like most athletes, had a year wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 38-year-old is now all set to step out for her first competition in about a year right here in hometown Ballarat as she navigates a path towards Tokyo.
Mitchell has nominated for the Victorian Country Track and Field Championships later this month and will use that event to kick-start her competitive schedule.
"My feelings after the Commonwealth Games were that I'd be heading into pretty much the best two years of my career, but it just really went the opposite direction," Mitchell told The Courier this week.
"Life has taught me a big lesson - you just don't know what's going to happen."
Life has taught me a big lesson - you just don't know what's going to happen.Kathryn Mitchell
Mitchell said she was yet to qualify for the Australian team and needed to either throw a distance of 64m or make the side via a points-based system.
She said it was her goal to qualify by sticking a good throw, but didn't expect any miracles here in Ballarat given it will be her first competition since the same championships in Geelong during 2020.
"I expect I'll be very rusty and with an event like javelin, if you are off just a little bit it makes a huge difference in distance," she said.
"At this stage, even though that's the objective thing, to throw a good distance, I'm trying not to focus too much on that and just trying to get my technique back together on the run-up.
"And if I do that, anyway, the distance will come."
While she's in the twilight of her career, Mitchell said there were no definite plans on retirement just yet with other motivations aside from just reaching another Olympic Games.
"It will just depend on where my mind is at post-Olympics, it will depend on my Mum's heath and it will depend on what my body is doing," she said.
"I've never wanted to set a date that this is when I'll retire because I just think it makes too much pressure or something.
"My life doesn't revolve around the Olympic Games in 2021. That was a bit of a change in mindset just through 2020. You want to still keep training and go on as planned because my goal is to throw as far as possible and get the most out of myself.
"Whether that happens in an Olympic stadium or it happens in a local competition down in Ballarat, I still want to throw really, really far."
The Victorian Country Track and Field Championships will start on January 22.