It will be three years this summer since Andreas Thorkildsen last made the podium at a major athletics event but do not for one minute think his days are over.
The double Olympic javelin champion from Norway is buzzing after an injury-free winter and is ready to show that he can make a big impression again on the event which transformed him into a superstar.
Thorkildsen has plans to turn back the clock by insisting he hopes to “scare” his rivals during the season and said: “Before, they knew no one beats me on a good day. You do not lose the talent, I think.”
Talking with Norway’s vg.no, he said he is confident he can break 90 metres again, a distance which, if achieved in Zurich in August, would surely win him the third European Athletics Championship gold medal of his career.
And what a story that would be, after glory in Gothenburg in 2006 with 88.78m and Barcelona four years later with 88.37m.
Since his silver at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu in 2011 with 84.78m - as Germany’s Matthias de Zordo won with 86.27m - Thorkildsen has not won a medal, finishing, in 2012, fourth at the European Athletics Championships in Helsinki and sixth at the Olympic Games in London, before seventh last year at the World Championships in Moscow.
But he revealed he has reached new highs in his training with a personal record in the weights room as he hit 200kg for the bench press.
Sixth on the all-time European Athletics rankings with his 91.59m national record in the perfect setting of the Bislett Games in Oslo in 2006, Thorkildsen has not been at his best over the previous years, with injury playing its part, but he remains the last athlete to break the 90m barrier with his 90.61m from Byrkjelo in 2011.
The furthest throw since has been Finland’s Tero Pitkamaki’s 89.03m in Bad Kostritz last summer.
But having the experience of going over 90m, Thorkildsen knows what it’s all about and he wants that feeling back again.