FOUR years ago, Adam Vella could not begin to forecast the trajectory of his future in shooting.
Ranked No.1 in the world at the time, Vella failed to make the Australian shooting team for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
One target cost him dearly in a cut-throat selection process that failed to recognise consistency over a four-year block.
Vella was shattered not to get a chance to better his bronze medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
While none too pleased with the selection process that didn't reward performance over a sustained period, he admits that he has only himself to blame.
"In 2008, it was four competitions and that was it," the Keilor resident told the Weekly.
"At the end of the day, I should've shot one more target. I made mistakes."
Redemption is a hard slog for an Olympian. Your life goes in four-year cycles. It's a long time between major competitions.
Vella has managed to climb back to the top with his Australian selection for this month's London Games.
Now 40, the western suburbs hot shot is more experienced, focused and hungrier than ever to get back on the podium.
This time he wants a gold medal dangling from his neck and Advance Australia Fair playing on the loudspeaker, but he would take "any colour" medal just to experience the thrill of being back on the podium.
Vella will never forget that career-defining moment in Athens when he received bronze.
"It's life-changing being an Olympic medallist," he said. "In a sense, you're part of history. It's the ultimate."
Vella might not be the top-ranked shooter in the world any more, but he does have a potent mix of experience at the top level and a burning desire to atone for his mistakes before Beijing.
Now entering with a world ranking of 39 in the shotgun trap division, external expectations are as high as they might have been four years ago.
But Vella will have the weight of his own expectations on his shoulders.
"Being my second Games, I'm feeling a bit more pressure to perform. It's a different feeling; the expectation is only coming from me."
Vella has a confidence in his ability on the biggest stages. It's no wonder: the 27-year veteran is a dual Commonwealth Games gold medallist and five-time World Cup gold medallist.
He is the only person to hold the world No.1 ranking in both the trap and double trap disciplines at the one time; that was back in 2003.
Vella said the "biggest hurdle" was qualifying. Now, he can get back to doing what he does best, producing in the pressure cooker of the big event.
"You've got 20 guys who can realistically win and you've got to go in there being positive."