Hawke's Bay's only Olympic hopeful says while Covid has thrown a spanner in the works, it may work in his favour in his hunt for a medal.
Waipukurau-born track cyclist Regan Gough is due to travel to Japan in July to take part at the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The games were scheduled to begin in July 2020 but were postponed due to Covid-19. They are now expected to begin on July 23 this year.
Gough fell short of a medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, finishing fourth in the team pursuit alongside Pieter Bulling, Aaron Gate and Dylan Kennett.
Despite the Covid concerns, the 24-year-old says the delayed start to the games may be a blessing in disguise.
"I was very young at my first Olympic games, so I'm looking forward to taking on the challenge of being much more equipped and prepared for what is to come," he said.
"Our team has developed leaps and bounds over the last couple of years, so the postponement I believe has worked in our favour as we were always chasing the clock."
The Central Hawke's Bay cyclist said he's loved being an "unassuming kid from Waipukurau".
"I'm Waipukurau born and bred, and am very proud to say so," he said. "Just quietly working hard for whatever challenge I had ahead of me.
"It's such a cool community with many people that went out of their way to help in any way they could."
Gough also comes from a highly successful cycling family, with cousin Westley, from Hastings, a double Olympic medallist on the track in Beijing and London.
While already a three-time world championship medallist, Gough says his focus remains away from the podium and more on self-improvement.
"My hopes for the games are to be the best I can be, for myself and for my team," he said. "But as a team, we hope to be towards the pointy end.
"We have such a good culture and work ethic within our team, so together we will be going in swinging and what will be, will be."
The 2015 Hawke's Bay's Sportsperson of the Year said this Olympic Games will be completely restructured compared to Rio where suffered a bronze medal race defeat to Denmark.
"We will be going into Japan with very limited track time prior to racing – five days I believe - and out immediately after racing," he said.
"Covid has definitely thrown a spanner in the works. But I believe if there is any country that can pull this off, it's the Japanese."
Gough is one of a 15-person track cycling team for the Tokyo Olympics, including Rio medallists Sam Webster and Ethan Mitchell and five other former world champions in Gate, Mitchell, Webster, Campbell Stewart and Jordan Kerby.