Four years ago, Peter Wilson was invited to the Beijing Games as part of Great Britain's Olympic Ambition Programme.
The programme was designed to give possible future Olympians the chance to sample what was being experienced by Team GB's class of 2008.
Wilson, then 21, was bitten by the bug; fast forward four years and he is now a British Olympic champion.
The 6ft 5in Dorset-based shooter opted to focus on the double trap in March 2006 and before the end of the year he had claimed the European junior title.
As a result of his early success, Wilson benefited from UK Sport funding until that was cut in 2008. He tried to raise money himself by working as a waiter at a bar, but that left him exhausted and affected his training.
Fortunately for the former Millfield School student, his parents supported him financially until he was back on the funding programme. And he admitted he was "privileged and lucky" that they owned a small farm which was near Southern Counties shooting range where he trained.
His fortunes then took a turn for the better when, in 2009, Athens gold medallist Sheikh Ahmed Bin Mohammed Bin Hasher Al Maktoum agreed to coach him for free, someone Wilson says is a "great guy". "Without him I wouldn't be where I am," he has said.
The results began rapidly improving in the years that followed. Wilson finished the year top of the British rankings, before excelling on the international stage with gold medals in the World Cup.
He collected team silver in the European Championships last year, along with Sydney gold medallist Richard Faulds and Steven Walton, and this year set a new world record in the double trap with a remarkable score of 198 out of 200 at the World Cup in Arizona.
In an interview with the BBC last month, Wilson said: "This is only my first Olympics, so I'm taking pressure off myself.
"Winning is down to a physical and mental combination and I've got to be as positive as I can be. If I get nervous and overawed then I'll tense up.
"I'll only be able to tell you how I coped after the competition - hopefully I'll have a gold medal around my neck.
"I want to put myself in the best possible position to perform at the highest level in London. If I stand there thinking I've done my absolute best, then I'll be happy."