Liam Heath says spending time away from kayaking helped fuel his desire to compete in the Olympics.
The 27-year-old from Guildford has been selected by Team GB to compete with Jon Schofield in the Men's K2 200m.
He told BBC Sport: "I stopped after university for a few years and got back into it seriously in 2009. That's where the Olympic ambitions properly started.
"Before, it had been too far out of reach. Stepping away from the sport and coming back into it was a blessing."
He added: "It re-ignited my passion for the sport and my ambitions to compete in an Olympic Games.
"Since our performances progressed and we consistently achieved podium results, it's become ever-closer and you can almost taste it.
"Now I've got the tracksuit on, it's pretty incredible it's happening. Now we've been nominated we can get on with the job."
Heath and Schofield, the reigning European champions, won silver at the two World Cup events in Poznan and Duisberg in May.
"It's always quite scary going into the new season because you don't know whether you've been doing the right thing," Heath continued.
"The first World Cup was not my best performance because we had the luxury of being able to try a few things."
The Wey Kayak Club member added: "It was comforting to know we can't be on our top form but still get medals on the world stage. It's satisfying to come way with medals.
"Duisberg was a better race for me but we still put in what we wanted and put in an awesome effort.
"It's a learning process so it's now about putting everything we've learnt into practice."