Kris Gemmell's theory of triathlon talent identification is simple: throw eggs against a wall and keep the ones that don't break.
The 35-year-old bowed out of Olympic competition today in Hyde Park after competing at his second Games. He finished 15th after leading the race off the bike into the run transition.
"Unfortunately as I was racking my bike someone smashed it out of my hand. I had to go back and get it, otherwise I would've been first out. Instead I ended up by myself [three seconds down] rather than in the front group. As much as it sounds ridiculous, those little things matter."
Gemmell expects to retire from the racing side of the sport in October after the triathlon world championship series final in Auckland.
He wants to move into a management role with Triathlon New Zealand's high performance arm after a career spent competing in it.
"I wish I'd been forced to retire at the last Olympics because some Brownlees [London gold medallist Alistair and bronze medallist Jonathan] were kicking around our scene.
"That not being disrespectful to our high performance programme, but I'd like to be a big part of that. I've got ideas on how to find these types of guys and girls. I'm enthusiastic about doing something in the coaching realm. I think I've got a lot to offer. I've been involved in it since 1996 when [Gemmell's former coach] John Hellemans first took it on."
Gemmell acknowledged the Brownlee brothers were something special that was hard to match.
"I'm quite a sports historian; we have icons in all sports and these guys are ours. That's not to take anything away from Bevan [Docherty], Hamish [Carter] or [Sydney Olympic gold medallist] Simon [Whitfield] but these guys have changed our sport. It's an honour to be part of it, because they are the future. It's scary to think others could possibly be faster. That's what the young guys and girls back home are going to have to aspire to. They're going to need to race that type of triathlon."
Triathlon New Zealand received almost $7 million of Government high performance funding over the last four years. Andrea Hewitt's sixth and Bevan Docherty's 12th were the sport's best results across both genders at the Olympics as triathlon evolves and other countries like Britain start to match New Zealand's success at Athens and Beijing. London is triathlon's fourth appearance on the Games itinerary.
"We almost have to stop our programme and start it in a different direction," Gemmell says. "We've got no choice. That's what some of these other countries have done.
"Look at the best high performance structures and development programmes in New Zealand like rowing or cycling. We're successful too, with the likes of Andrea [Hewitt] and Bevan, but there is a big difference between top 10 and winning a medal. We wanted to be prouder than that; talent identification is a big part.
"We need to set up a system which grabs these kids at a younger age. We then sit down with them and their families and plan their futures. That could mean school or community involvement, we've got to start somewhere. We've got to funnel our investment and ensure there's more direction. It might mean chucking 100 eggs at a wall and if four don't break maybe that's the four we need. At the moment we're only chucking a dozen eggs, we need to chuck more."By Andrew Alderson in London