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Charlie Guest: 'Rheumatoid arthritis will not stop Winter Olympics bid'

The 27-year-old has palindromic rheumatism which "randomly affects any joint at any given time".

Leading British ski racer Charlie Guest is determined that a shock diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis will not wreck her ambition of reaching a second Winter Olympics in Beijing next year.

The Perthshire 27-year-old has revealed she discovered she had palindromic rheumatism, which "randomly affects any joint at any given time" last year, shortly after making a full recovery from a serious back injury.

Despite the serious physical and psychological implications of the condition, Guest is continuing to improve on the World Cup circuit, and recorded a career-best 16th place finish in the slalom at Are, Sweden last Saturday.″>

Guest told the PA news agency: "I get random attacks on a joint that last anywhere between 24 hours and three days, and alongside that comes quite hectic fatigue and brain fog.

"It came out of nowhere and for a while I was in total denial. I'd come through a really terrible time with my back injury in late 2018 and I thought it was really my time. So I was like, 'are you kidding?'

"I felt like nobody understood what I was going through. It was like I was existing from day to day. I'd wake up at 3am with my shoulder killing me, and I'd be sitting on my sofa crying and trying to put ice on it."

Guest, who was part of the British team that reached the quarter-finals of the mixed team event in Pyeongchang in 2018, started taking medication in September after being inspired by the example of tennis star Venus Williams.

Williams has been able to extend her professional career despite being diagnosed with a similar rheumatic condition, Sjogren's syndrome, in 2011.

Guest added: "I think one of the biggest challenges for me was psychologically getting it into my head that I had to start medication. To begin with I was very resistant to it because it felt like admitting defeat.

Wimbledon 2019 – Day One – The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club
Venus Williams is also winning her battle with rheumatic disease (Mike Egerton/PA)

"But I found out that Venus Williams has a similar syndrome, in terms of how it operates on the body, and I thought if she can do it, there's no reason why I can't do it too."

Guest praised her ski team and governing body GB Snowsport for its assistance and understanding in helping adapt her race and training schedules in order to mitigate the unpredictable effects of the condition.

And she believes it is no coincidence that she has started making her top-20 breakthrough at a time when she has belatedly begun to accept her condition and the occasional limitations it puts upon her.

"Having all these challenges along the way has kind of made ski racing a little bit easier, because I know my health is so important – skiing is still significant, but it's not the most important thing out there," Guest added.

"If day by day I'm not taking care of the little things with my body, I'm not going to be able to do the skiing. So it puts a little less pressure on, because I know if my body is happy, the results will come."

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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States16171144
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia10141034
Great BritainGreat Britain79925
Today's Olympic highlights header

Saturday's key events

· After silvers in both the men's and women's events, Team GB will be fancied to get on the podium again in the mixed relay (11.30pm-1am)

· Touted as Michael Phelps's successor, Caeleb Dressel already has two gold medals from these Games and he will be going for a third in the men's 50m butterfly final (2.30am)
· It is Katie Ledecky vs. Ariarne Titmus III in the women's 800m freestyle final, with Ledecky entering as firm favourite (2.46am)
· Great Britain will be heavily fancied to add another gold medal to their swimming haul, having produced by far the fastest qualifying time for the mixed 4x100m medley relay final (3.43am)

· Dina Asher-Smith is one of three British women in the 100m semi-finals (3.01am-3.20am), and will hope to challenge for a medal in what is likely to be a star-studded final (1.50pm)
· The inaugural Olympic 4x400m mixed relay event concludes with Great Britain one of the eight finalists going for gold (1.35pm)

· Team GB's dreams of an unlikely gold are still alive in the women's event as they face France in their semi-final (3.30am). The winners will face either New Zealand or Fiji in the gold medal match later in the day (10am)

· Gold medals are up for grabs in the windsurfer - RS:X finals. Emma Wilson participates for Team GB in the women's final (6.33am), while Tom Squires is in action in the men's (7.33am)

· Following his shock semi-final defeat, ending his hopes of a Golden Slam in 2021, Novak Djokovic battles for bronze against Pablo Carreno Busta (7am)
· The women's singles event reaches its conclusion with the gold medal match between Belinda Bencic and Marketa Vondrousova

> Today's schedule in full
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