Perhaps more than any other member of Team GB Louise Hazel rarely misses her dates with destiny.
The pugnacious Birchfield Harrier’s approach to such occasions is to grab them with both hands, usually around the neck, and shake them until the very last drop of opportunity has been squeezed out.
She then makes sure she’s in front of a camera, dictaphone or microphone to guarantee everyone knows about it. And why not?
Professional sport is not a world for the timorous, the Olympic Games are no place for the backward in coming forward and the heptathlon is not an event that favours the meek and modest.
And few who witnessed Hazel, through sheer force of will, club her opponents into submission en route to the Commonwealth gold two years ago will ever accuse the 26-year-old of betraying such shortcomings.
If confidence could be translated into metres and the power of self-belief could slow stopwatches there’d be little point in staging the London 2012 heptathlon.
Instead organisers will not unreasonably oblige Hazel to back up her attitude with a seven-staged demonstration of aptitude, the first of which takes place at 10.05am tomorrow when she – and compatriots Jessica Ennis and Katarina Johnson-Thompson – begin open their campaigns at the start-line of the 100m hurdles. That is where the challenges will begin.
Hazel is a very good athlete, she has a national title over the barriers to prove that and she showed in Delhi she produces her best when it matters most.
But over the next two days it will matter more than ever as world leader Ennis goes for glory and Johnson-Thompson and Hazel battle themselves, the rest of the world but also each other in terms of the domestic pecking order.
Their rivalry, such as it is given the fact their meeting at the TNT-Fortuna Meeting in Kladno in June was their first in direct competition, is an intriguing sub-plot made more so by the fact the 19-year-old Liverpudlian posted a junior record personal best of 6248, which is 82 points more than Hazel’s.
Hazel, meanwhile, pulled out of the event in the Czech Republic with the 800m to go. She was fifth with 4958 points at the time and she has not completed a full heptathlon since disappointing in Daegu last year.
Johnson-Thompson went on to win the long jump title at the World Juniors last month with an enormous leap of 6.81m, which though undermined by an illegal wind-reading, was an effort of which Ennis herself would have been proud.
Many, therefore, expect these Olympics to see some sort of torch passed from Hazel to the latest hot property in British multi-eventing.
That – and the fact over the winter Hazel had to appeal to UK Athletics to retain her funding – means there is even more pressure than ever before to perform during the next couple of days.
She will go in looking for personal bests in several of her disciplines and season’s bests in all the others.
Hazel will be desperate to speed as close to 13.20 seconds as possible in the first event and in the second, the troublesome high jump, well over 1.70m and perhaps even the 1.74m she produced at the 2011 World Championships.
Next up her shot putt appears to be in good shape, having thrown a PB of 12.86m in Kladno, another would further narrow the deficit on the rest of the field that usually chalks up 13 or 14m.
There is also hope in the last event of day one, the 200m, in which Hazel ran a windy 24.17secs at UK Women’s league match at the end of June. If she could repeat or better that on Friday evening she would be well set for the second day.
The first event of which is the long jump, where there is enormous scope for improvement, while Johnson-Thompson is touching world class in that discipline alone, Hazel needs at least a 6.40m if she is not to be left behind.
With two 40m-plus throws in the javelin this year, Hazel has shown decent form and then the final event becomes a battle of wills. The 800m is detested by most heptathletes who after two days of intense competition just want to find a corner in which to lie down.
That will be the last thing Hazel does. In Delhi she attacked both laps – but then that’s just what she does.