After his giant strides in Tokyo, it’s back to baby steps for Peter Bol.
The middle-distance running star has narrowed his focus significantly ahead of a busy 12 months, which will feature the world titles and then the Commonwealth Games.
At the Tokyo Olympics, Bol became the first Australian since 1968 gold medallist Ralph Doubell to reach the 800m final.
He also broke the Australian record in Tokyo on the way to finishing fourth, providing one of the highlights of an impressive Games for the athletics team.
But before Bol starts thinking about Paris and an Olympic medal, it’s time to return to the grind of long-term preparation.
“It’s going to be back to baby steps. So we have nationals coming up and I have to get through that, and then the world championships and Commonwealth Games before thinking about the big picture, which is Paris,” Bol said.
“It’s going right back, to preparation, doing the small things, the gym, the consistency.
“Athletics is a pretty tough sport. I’m already qualified for the world championships and Commonwealth Games, but there’s no guarantee I actually get there.
“It’s important to focus on what you can do right now – just the training load, build up slowly.”
The time and commitment involved means Bol relies on financial support.
He was speaking on Thursday at the relaunch of The Athletics Foundation, which is an alternative funding source for the sport in Australia.
While the foundation will aim to back elite competitors such as Bol, it will also look to boost support for all levels of athletics.
And the foundation makes no bones about hoping to attract Australia’s richest people to the cause.
Gina Rinehart, Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest and Gerry Ryan are famous for their generosity, providing Australian sports with crucial extra support on top of government funding and sponsorships.
“I’d quite happily take his call,” foundation chairman Andrew Salter said of Forrest.
“We couldn’t get to a place to be able to have the conversations with your Twiggys or your Gina Rineharts … your wealthy people in Australia, who want to help.
“We haven’t had the platform there, but we do now.
“We very much welcome any contribution, no matter how large or how small.”