It's hard enough becoming a world champion, but the athletes who've climbed that mountain will often say staying there is tougher.
So Lisa Carrington's kayaking achievements this year are out of the top drawer.
The 24-year-old Bay of Plenty paddler stunned the canoeing world when she won the K1 200m sprint title at the world champs in 2011. She arrived favourite for last year's Olympics, and won gold.
This year she branched out, seeking fresh challenges.
She decided to tackle the K1 200m and 500m double on the World Cup circuit.
The result was a clean sweep at the three regattas in Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland in her specialist event.
Proving herself a quick learner over 500m, she followed victory in the B final in Hungary over the longer distance with golds in both the other cup events.
That gave her five golds in six finals going into the world champs at Duisburg, Germany, in August. Carrington was the favourite, but she was by no stretch the dead cert for the double.
And that was borne out when she finished third in the 500m final.
Carrington clocked 1min 58.619s in crossing behind Danuta Kozak of Hungary and Germany's Katrin Wagner-Augustin.
She then rounded off a stellar campaign by retaining her 200m crown in a cracking 39.522s, 0.190s ahead of perhaps her closest rival, Marta Walczykiewicz of Poland.
That capped an outstanding day for New Zealand after Teneale Hatton had dominated the K1 5000m event.
Considering the year for Carrington was one of discovery, working out if a strong tilt at the double was feasible at the Rio Olympics in 2016, it was nothing less than a resounding success.
"It's my intention to keep going with both events and see how they progress. For me it's all about learning and improving," Carrington said.
Carrington talks frequently about the need for her to be tested. She doesn't do comfortable and cosy.
"I need the challenge and the 500m is giving me that. The greater the challenge, the more I can get out of myself."
Her coach Gordon Walker is lavish in his praise.
"There's always someone pushing her but she manages to rise to the occasion every time."