Aaron Cook is an athlete in a hurry, and he has refused to rest on his laurels since making his debut at the Olympics in Beijing four years ago.
The Dorset athlete narrowly missed out on a medal at the 2008 Games after a controversial loss to Zhu Guo of China, who was competing in front of his home crowd.
Driven on by the frustration of his Beijing experience, Cook, who had won gold medals at the European Junior Championships in 2007 and then the World Junior Championships in 2008, defeated former Olympic champion Steven Lopez to win the 80kg gold at the inaugural World Taekwondo Tour event in Mexico City in 2009.
The 18-year-old's victory over Lopez was the greatest of Cook's career, but a year later Cook took a momentous decision that he hopes will reap dividends at London 2012.
Despite winning gold in the 80kg competition at the 2010 European Championships, Cook failed to qualify for the World Championships of the same year, leaving the ambitious youngster questioning his future in the sport.
At a crossroads, Cook decided to turn his back on British Taekwondo's Manchester-based World Class Performance Programme — and therefore his National Lottery funding — and opted to go it alone.
The strategy appears to have paid off. Cook has rediscovered his enthusiasm for the sport as well as his form.
In December 2011 at the taekwondo Olympic test event in London, Cook claimed the gold medal. The same result at London 2012 would cap off a rollercoaster four years for a true fighter.