Two unlikely comebacks have been sealed with the announcement of Australia's rugby sevens teams for the Olympic Games.
In the all-conquering women's side - champions of the 2015-16 HSBC World Rugby Women's Sevens Series and top seeds for Rio 2016 - Gemma Etheridge has recovered from a ruptured ACL to seal her Olympic place after LARS surgery accelerated her recovery, while Nick Malouf has made a similar recovery to travel with the men's side.
After dominating on the world stage this season, Australia's women travel to Rio as favourites to take gold and coach Tim Walsh has opted for much the same squad that won the country's first world series title.
Hard working forwards Sharni Williams and Shannon Parry co-captain a squad that features power, skill, pace and raw talent with the likes Emilee Cherry, Charlotte Caslick and Ellia Green all proven game-breakers.
"Our goal is to go to Rio and win gold and it is something we speak about every day. The world series win has certainly given us the confidence to achieve that goal.
"We have a great belief in one another and know each player brings something unique to the team. Parry is a workhorse, Caslick has great footwork, Green is super quick - we know what each player's strengths are and we use them to our advantage."
The three-day women’s competition kicks off at the Deodoro Stadium on 6 August, day one of Olympic competition, with the men's following on 9-11 August.
porch a bolt from the blue
Australia's men's side will be captained by the country's most-capped player, Ed Jenkins, and also features the surprise inclusion of 22-year-old John Porch, who impressed in his debut season alongside another wing, 19-year-old Henry Hutchison. Nick Cummins, however, does not make the side.
Alongside Jenkins, senior players James Stannard, Cam Clark, Con Foley and Pat McCutcheon bring a wealth of international experience while 2015-16 Series Rookie of the Year Hutchison represents the new breed of sevens star.
Australia's men finished the season in fourth place – their best finish in six years – and go into Rio knowing that they have the side to challenge for a podium finish.
"A gold medal has been our ambition for a while now and that was reinforced at the start of the year when Friendy (coach Andy Friend) came in to take over the side," said Jenkins, whose side face France, Spain and South Africa, "Looking at the team we have for Rio it will definitely be the strongest we have fielded all year.”
Friend opted to rest key players throughout the season but the Australians still reached two Cup finals, falling to New Zealand in Sydney and Fiji in Las Vegas.
While Jenkins lined up in the majority of tournaments, Tom Cusack watched on from the sidelines as he raced against the clock to return from injury. The 23-year-old is now back on the field and honoured to be going to Rio.
"It was a shock to have been given this opportunity. I've been coming back from an injury but my recovery has all gone perfectly and this will be my first major tournament coming back from that. To know I'm in the team is very pleasing, satisfying but also a relief," said Cusack.
The side recently went into camp in Darwin before starting this week with final trial matches against Japan. They now have an 'over-reaching week', where they put a lot of kilometres into their legs with intensive training, before tapering off nearer to the Games.
Women's squad: Shannon Parry (co-captain), Sharni Williams (co-captain), Nicole Beck, Gemma Etheridge, Emma Tonegato, Evania Pelite, Charlotte Caslick, Chloe Dalton, Amy Turner, Alicia Quirk, Emilee Cherry, Ellia Green.
Men's squad: Nick Malouf, Jesse Parahi, Henry Hutchison, Lewis Holland, James Stannard, Con Foley, Cameron Clark, Pat McCutcheon, Ed Jenkins (captain), Allan Fa’alava’au, John Porch, Tom Cusack