Kodi Harman bounds through the doors of Tauranga's new Aspire gym, full of apologies for being late after a physio appointment took longer than expected.
I am sitting in the reception chatting to his coach, Athletics New Zealand's Kerry Hill, and Harman greets us both with a bright smile and outstretched hand.
It's not like he doesn't know Hill - they do 10 training sessions together a week - but the warmth the national 100m champion feels for his coach is obvious in the way he engulfs Hill's hand in both his own.
The feeling is mutual, Hill saying that the jovial 21-year-old is a joy.
"When he's down, there will be a bit of a frown," says Hill, "and then he'll smile his way out of it."
Sporting glitzy black and silver studs in each ear and exuding an easygoing charm, Harman again apologises for taking another minute to brief Hill on the physio.
His demeanour changes from smile to serious as he relays news about a mysterious pain that has been tormenting him since January.
Scans and specialists have failed to find the cause of the "graunch/pull" in the back of his left leg, but he is feeling optimistic after his first visit to the knee and spinal physio clinic.
The clinic has filmed him running and isolated problems in his upper thigh and back that could be the cause. Harman is already feeling better after a therapy session on the thigh, and is hopeful the diagnosis could be the breakthrough he needs.
Injuries and illness have plagued the sprinter for more than two years and proved a major setback to achieving his life goal - to run the 100m at next year's Rio Olympics.
The left-leg pain, glandular fever, a stress fracture in his pelvis, and a tear in his right knee have all hampered his ability to better his personal best of 10.42sec.
He needs to run 10.16sec to qualify for Rio. "It's two finger clicks. He's actually only that far away," says Hill - and Harman believes curing his latest injury is the key.
"If we can sort this out, I know I can be a force to be reckoned with," he says.
In many ways, Harman is already a force on the track.
As a teenager, he set national records for the fastest 100m for a 17-year-old and 18-year-old, and became the second fastest under 20-year-old 100m sprinter in New Zealand history - all without running competitively before high school.
He won the latest national 100m title in March and is also a star beach sprinter, winning bronze at last year's world championships and four gold medals at the recent national surf lifesaving champs.
Harman is modest about his success on the beach ["I do okay"] and for years has trained on the sand as well as the track. He says the social aspect of the beach is a pull but now, with Rio a little over a year away, he is focussing on earning a place among the elite track athletes at the world's biggest sporting event.
"Not many New Zealand sprinters have been to the Olympics," he says.
"The biggest goal for me is the Olympics."
Harman is gunning for a place in the 100m and 200m, and is under no illusions the competition will not not be intense. He says every country produces sprinters, including poor countries without decent sports facilities, and there is huge depth to the field.
He singles out black Jamaican and American athletes as the stiffest competitors, saying: "There's no doubt about it, they are born to run." But with advances in sports science and training, Harman believes Olympic audiences may soon see white sprinters running world-record times.
Harman chooses not to focus too heavily on the competition, instead striving to do his personal best and look back without regret on his Olympic preparation. To that end, he is doing two two-hour sessions a day with Hill, five times a week, comprising a mix of track, gym, pool and endurance work. He wants to be about 2kg heavier than his current 74kg, but at 179cm, Harman possesses the gazelle-like physique typical of professional sprinters.
His training includes barefoot running on the Aspire gym's indoor track, a facility he says is allowing him to do crucial work to strengthen his toes and ankles.
"If they're not strong, they're going to play on your times."
He is also dedicating more time to injury management and following diet and supplement regimes from High Performance Sport New Zealand. Psychological performance is another area he is hammering before Rio.
Harman oscillates between sweet and serious as we talk, and when I ask if the seriousness has come with the Olympic focus, he says: "I'm definitely not a serious guy.
''We make sure we have fun. I believe you can't walk around 24/7 serious. There needs to be a balance."
Training on and off the track
But at the same time, he makes no bones about committing fulltime to the task after finishing an automotive engineering degree last year. "I'm training harder than I ever have before. Everything's more specific this year. That's what I feel will give me this huge edge to get me to where I want to go."
Hill interjects: "So we're going to be dangerous?"
Harman: "We are."
Harman is in good hands with Hill, who has trained five of New Zealand's fastest eight sprinters, and Hill is equally confident of his young charge. "He knows the plan and he sticks to it very, very well," he says.
Harman's best time in the 200m is 21.32sec, almost a second off what he needs to qualify for Rio, but he sees training for the longer event as critical for achieving a place in the 100m.
The "short, sharp" 100m is his passion and the "glory event" of the Olympics, he says.
"Everybody watches the 100. [The audience] is definitely part of the excitement for me."
Harman wants to reach 10.16sec, the Olympic qualifying A standard for the 100m, by April at latest. The B standard is 10.21sec but he would need two runs at this time and mentions it as an afterthought, his sights set on the A.
He is well aware more than two years has passed since he ran 10.42sec, but says he achieved that on the back of glandular fever and a dark period in his life.
Because he was ill, Harman missed a chance to train with the world's fastest man, Usain Bolt, when the Jamaican visited New Zealand in 2012. "I was gutted to say the least. It was the worst six months of my life. I was lost. For six months, I was a couch potato."
Overcoming the odds
Then aged 18, Harman emerged from the blow, training hard for just three months before running 10.42sec - and setting a national record for his age. He points to the difficulties he overcame to manage that feat, saying that anyone who doubts his ability to get to the Olympics need look no further.
Unusually, Harman came to sprinting - and sport in general - relatively late.
He played only one season of rugby at primary school and his early teens were spent living in Greece, Italy and Malaysia as his father travelled for his job. While overseas, Harman was home-schooled apart from a stint at school in Italy (he still speaks a little Italian), where he again dabbled in rugby.
While sports took a backseat, Harman says living overseas had a profound impact.
"It gave me experiences that not many other kids have. It's given me my motivation and my drive, basically my personality ... I just appreciate the smallest things in life."
Harman found his speed when he returned home to Mount Maunganui College and began running in school athletics. He quickly progressed to regional finals, and as a 16-year-old began training seriously.
He still lives at home in Papamoa with his parents and two brothers (he's the middle one), saying his family is a huge part of his reason for wanting to do well.
"They're always there for me, always watching me, very proud."
Financially, following his dream is not easy, and he works two shifts a week at a supermarket to make ends meet.
Nor does he get as much time as he would like with his girlfriend, but for Harman, all the sacrifices are worth it to get to Rio - and finally meet Bolt.