BETH Tweddle has put her Olympic ambitions first by deciding not to defend her European uneven bars title in Amsterdam.
The 22-year-old world champion is on the road to recovery after undergoing surgery on tendons in her shoulder earlier this year.
She will compete on the floor and beam at next week's European Championships, but will not take part in the physically demanding bars event for fear of causing further damage to her troublesome shoulder.
With a medal-winning appearance at next year's Beijing Olympics her main objective, Tweddle knows it would be a risk to push herself too hard too soon in Holland.
The Bunbury ace said: 'It was a case of not competing or just going for beam and floor.
'It gets me back out on the international scene and people will realise that I'm still competing and not retired.
'It's disappointing, but qualifying for the Olympics next year is more important.'
Having been crowned the undisputed queen of the uneven bars last year, Tweddle had been looking to dominate her favourite event again in 2007.
Although she has missed out on the chance to defend the European title she won in Greece last April, the former Chester Queen's School pupil still has the British Championships in July and the World Championships in Germany this September to look forward to.
Then it is on to Beijing, where Tweddle will be aiming to go out with a bang by winning her first Olympic gold medal.
She said: 'The injury is pretty much back to how it was. It feels pretty good, but it's not competition fit.
'If the Europeans had been a couple of weeks later, I might have been able to compete in the bars.
'I haven't been out on the international circuit since December so, for me, the European Championships are just to get out in competition and see what I can do.
'I've just got back from surgery so I'm not expecting much.'
As well as training hard for her return to international competition, Tweddle has also been in the final weeks of her Sports Science degree at Liverpool John Moores University.
She handed her dissertation in at the start of the week but still has to revise for a couple of exams before completing her course on May 3.
After spending the past three years juggling her studies with being a world-class athlete, Tweddle has become well used to the pressure.
'I've enjoyed it up until the last couple of weeks,' she said. 'They have been really hectic!'