Ashia Hansen admitted her overriding emotion was relief after she managed to come through her first competition in more than two years unscathed at the Norwich Union European Trials.
The 34-year-old triple jumper has undergone multiple knee operations after she sustained a horrific knee injury while competing at the Spar European Cup in Poland in 1994.
The Birchfield Harrier returned to action at Manchester on Saturday afternoon, looking for the chance to attempt to defend the European title she claimed in 1992 at the championships in Gothenburg later this month, and finished second behind training partner Tiombe Hurd with a jump of 13.65 metres.
Hansen said: "I was not nervous until I was on the runway, I had a few tears - I forgot my spikes and left them in the car and I lost my numbers.
"It's just good to get it out of the way. It is relief now the first one is over. Mentally I'm absolutely shattered, I'd forgotten how this felt.
"It's an achievement to come so far and show I can come back and I have come back but I have a long way to go."
The British record holder's final preparation "went pear-shaped" when her knee would not bend and she admits she warmed up with "trepidation".
However, there were no adverse reactions and Hansen's best jump was a qualification mark, albeit for development athletes.
Hansen insists she will not travel to Sweden unless she attains the elite athlete qualifier of 14.10m, adding: "I want to go to Gothenburg but not at this level - at 14.10m and anything else is a bonus. I don't want to go to make up the numbers - that is not what I'm about and it's not what I train for."
Hansen revealed she was motivated during her lay-off by her still unachieved ambitions as well as proving the doubters wrong.
"I wanted to prove you can come back. I had so many negative people telling me to retire.
"I've still not achieved what I wanted. I want to see if I can get what I aspire to.
"One particular doctor told me I would never jump again. A doctor doesn't know what makes a person tick. I was quite angry because who is he to tell me I can't do something?".
When asked if she had ambitions to jump at another Olympics, Hansen was unequivocal saying: "Of course, it's the name of the game."