Thomas Yule delivered the knockout punch without uttering a word when he was interviewed as one of 10 short-listed athletes vying for a BayTrust financial scholarship last month.
Yule turned up to the interview wearing his coach Allan Thompson's 1984 Los Angeles Olympics gold medal, won as part of New Zealand's K4 1000m kayaking team along with Paul MacDonald, Ian Fergusson and Grant Bramwell. Without question Yule, 19, got the reaction he'd hoped for.
The former Mount Maunganui College student said turning up to the interview with Thompson's golden gong wasn't a gimmick.
``I wanted to do something that provided a bit of X-factor and made me stand out, but mostly I wanted to show the panel my huge drive and motivation to be Olympic champion,' he said today.
``I'm passionate about winning Olympic gold, if not in 2012 then four years later, and hopefully that came across.'
Yule is part of New Zealand Canoeing's London 2012 Olympic high performance squad and is coming off five medals at the national flatwater championships, including three golds in the K2 and K4.
He is also national champion in the double ski and long course canoe in surf lifesaving.
He was included in the cream of the Bay's up-and-coming young sporting talent awarded BayTrust scholarships, joining extreme whitewater kayaker Sam Sutton (Rotorua), Olympic sailor Peter Burling (Tauranga), waterskier Renee Hannah (Rotorua), athlete Michael Cochrane (Tauranga), wheelchair racer Matthew Lack (Opotiki) and Tauranga triathlete Nicola McKay.
Yule leaves today for a grand prix meet in Adelaide, buoyed by a big weekend on Rotorua's Blue Lake where he tipped over former world champion Ben Fuohy in the K2 1000m with Marty McDowell.
``It was the first time I'd ever beaten Ben _ and he wasn't too happy about it!' He will use his $1700 BayTrust scholarship to spend three months training in Europe next year, culminating in the'09 world championships in Halifax, Canada.
The scholarships were instigated to assist high achieving young sportspeople, who have already represented New Zealand, to compete internationally.
Sutton had a huge year, culminating in a stunning performance at the adidas Sickline world extreme kayaking championships in Austria, where he broke the course record and finished second, 0.1sec off gold. Burling finished 11th in the 470 class at the Bejing Olympics and has now moved into a 49er while Hannah is the New Zealand open women's jump champion and leaves in January for the under-17 world championships in Peru.
Cochrane won two golds, a silver and bronze at the Oceania athletics championships in Saipan and is now eyeing competition in Australia and Italy next year.
McKay is part of the New Zealand elite under-19 triathlon training squad and is ranked 36th in the world after her finish at the 2007 world championships. Lack holds Paralympics New Zealand records in the 100m and 200m (senior and junior) and is coming off double gold and five silvers at the World Junior Games in the United States.