The next phase of Mark Lewis-Francis' life and career began yesterday when the Birchfield Harrier announced his split from long-time coach Steve Platt - and his move away from Birmingham.
The Darlaston-born runner has endured a troubled 12 months since anchoring Britain to sprint relay gold in last summer's Olympics and as a result has decided to break up with Platt - his mentor for ten years - to join Tony Lester's elite group based at the Thames Valley Athletics Centre in Eton.
The 22-year-old will train with 4x100 metres team-mate Marlon Devonish as well as a host of other world-class athletes including world 400m finalist Tim Benjamin and 200m runner Chris Lambert, in what is the strongest group of international class competitors in the country.
But while Lewis-Francis spoke of his excitement at the prospect of working with Lester, a former army officer and coach to Olympic silver medallist Roger Black, he also described the pain he felt in coming to such a difficult decision.
"Arranging a meeting with Steve and telling him that I need to move on was one of the hardest things that I have had to do," said Lewis-Francis.
"Steve has been there since day one, he has been a father figure. I remember the days when I started athletics and never had any transport. He used to come to my house and drop me off but I knew I had to make the move to further my career."
One of the primary moves behind the move is his desire to work with other athletes of his own calibre in a bid to increase his motivation and the intensity of his preparation.
"The set-up in Birmingham wasn't correct," he explained. "I need people to be pushing me while I am running instead of running on my own. That has not worked. I need to have someone kicking my arse in training."
And although he refused to admit it the suspicion remains that Lewis-Francis has been urged to move away from the area - and out of his comfort zone - in a bid to fulfil the potential he showed when he won both the 100m and 200m at the 2000 World Junior Championships.
But since then he has been criticised for being overweight and for failing to lead a lifestyle befitting a world-class sprinter.
Earlier this year he tested positive for cannabis but escaped a ban after convincing UK Athletics that the drug had been imbibed passively.
He yesterday described how the incident had occurred in a nightclub and how he hoped to put it behind him.
"I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was another angle in my life that I really regret and an incident that I will hopefully not have to go through again," he said.
It would be a massive shock if he did because under Lester's stewardship he now has everything he needs, and is free from the distractions he doesn't.
"I believe that he can help me fulfil my dreams of being world champion and Olympic champion - individually," said Lewis-Francis.
"Tony gives me the next level which me and Steve did not find. It is not just a couple of hours or days, we have sat down and looked at every coach in the world but we have seen what Tony can do with athletes like Abi [ Oyepitan] and Marlon [Devonish]. "He is a talented man, I am putting my life in his hands and I want to see what I can get out of it."
UKA's performance director, Dave Collins, admitted he had tried to persuade one of his brightest prospects to make the move.
"I can honestly say in this case I was pushing against an open door. I didn't even have to push - it swung in my face," said Collins.
Platt had earlier launched a fierce attack on UK Athletics. He said: "I am very disappointed that I got no support from UK Athletics. I believe they have a secret agenda and want him to be coached by someone else.
"There have been a couple of coaches on a lot of money. They have no outstanding athletes and they want to justify themselves."
Lewis-Francis will continue to compete for Birchfield, when he can, and is looking to make the switch as soon as he finds somewhere to live for himself and his family.