James Hall battled back from his darkest ‘directionless' days of lockdown to book a ‘surreal' Olympic debut.
And the Maidstone gymnastics ace reckons keeping things simple and playing it cool can be the perfect recipe for success in Tokyo this summer.
Hall, 25, was officially selected in Team GB's four-pronged men's gymnastics squad this week alongside Joe Fraser, Giarnni Regini-Moran and two-time Olympic champion Max Whitlock.
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The Covid-19 pandemic tested all his inner resilience and Hall, a 2018 Commonwealth Games team champion, believes booking his place on the plane is the perfect way to reward all those who never left his side.
Hall, whose Games debut will be broadcast live on Eurosport and discovery+, said: "The last year and a half has been a trying time.
"I will happily admit that I've been in some pretty bad places in my head with everything that's gone on.
"Everyone has been through a difficult time - there's no disputing that. But I've had the support network around me to come back from that.
"You go from being a gymnast your whole life and then at the drop of a hat, someone tells you that you can't do that for however long. There was no timeframe - it was just: you can't do that.
"For me, I love the sport and I was a little bit directionless. In my head I still had the Games, but with them being postponed, you can't help but feel defeated and debilitated.
"Having the right people around me, and talking about it, I think was the most important thing to do.
"I'm buzzing and it's pretty surreal. It's something I've dreamed of - not just since I was six years old, but every day since.
"It's almost unbelievable - we're getting the kit, it's here and it's happening. The next two months are going to be challenging, but I'm super-excited."
Hall was born in Bankstown, Australia, before moving to Kent with his family back in 1997.
He set about paving his way in the gymnastics world and after claiming bronze at the 2017 European Championships in Romania, catapulted himself into Commonwealth Games contention.
Hall soared to a thrilling team gold alongside Whitlock, Courtney Tulloch, Nile Wilson and Dominick Cunningham on the Gold Coast, with silver medals in the all-around and horizontal bar events further cementing his place as a Tokyo 2020 hopeful.
And a team silver at the 2018 European Championships in Glasgow, bolstered by all-around glory at the 2019 British Championships, confirmed his status as a golden boy of British gymnastics ahead of this month's final selection.
His raft of international medals make him one of GB's most consistent performers and for ‘trustworthy' Hall, being known as a safe pair of hands is a reputation that suits him just fine.
He added: "I like to be understated - that's how I roll.
"I've definitely got the ingredients [to succeed] - in the last few trials I've hit some really good scores, personal bests and it's all on the way up. At an Olympic Games, you never know.
"As a team, I think we've all got the ingredients to be challenging for some serious medals.
"My job is my job. I'm going to go there and do what I've been tasked with doing. I'm going to do it to a high enough standard and I want the other guys to have trust in me.
"I'm trustworthy. That's the thing I go to and other people go to - I want people to have trust in me, feel comfortable around me and rely on me to do the job."
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