British weight-lifter Zoe Smith insists she made the right decision to put her studies on hold and focus all her efforts on preparing for next summer's Olympic Games.
The 17-year-old from Greenwich burst onto the scene in 2010 when, at the age of 16, she not only became the youngest ever weight-lifter to compete in a Commonwealth Games, she returned from Delhi with a bronze medal.
Her experience of major events didn't begin there, however, as Smith was part of the British Olympic Association's 'Olympic Ambition' initiative that saw her travel with Team GB to the Beijing Games as a mere 14-year-old.
And Smith will be drawing on those experiences as she builds up to London 2012.
"Going to Beijing, it was just great to get the opportunity to look around an Olympic village and get an idea of what it's like to be in that environment," she states.
"Culturally, of course it will be really different in London, but it was a great experience.
"Although I had been in international competitions before, Delhi was my first senior event," Smith continues. "I quite enjoyed competing in Delhi actually. There was a great team atmosphere and that's what really counts at the end of the day."
Despite her remarkable success in India, Smith had her funding cancelled after a communication mix-up relating to her training schedule.
"It was after the Commonwealths," she recalls. "I hadn't been filling in my training log because I was having a bit of a break after the Games, basically basking in the glory!
"And when I turned up to training camp overweight they just assumed I hadn't been doing anything. They can't fund an athlete who isn't seen to be training and not keeping up their end of the bargain. It's all back on track now and I can look forward to 2012."
It was then that Smith decided to focus on weight-lifting full-time, which - as for most 17-year-olds - meant postponing her A-levels, a compromise she insists was a difficult yet necessary one.
"It was a tough decision to put my studies on hold and focus on training for a year because I had just started my A-levels," Smith explains.
"It was an important year and I was under quite a lot of pressure to fulfil my commitments at the gym and to complete all my schoolwork. I had constant deadlines to meet and it was getting very tough.
"I thought to myself, 'This will be the only chance to compete in a home Olympics, so I might as well put everything into it while I've got the chance,'" she reveals.
"So I decided to move up to Leeds where our national training base is. I thought I would give it my all for a year and see what happens."
The decision certainly appears to be paying off as two silver medals this year - the first at the tri-nations tournament in Norway and the second coming at the World Youth Championships in Peru - would testify.
Smith lifted a Personal Best combined weight of 201kg in May before a back injury prevented her from competing for six months. However, she returned with aplomb at the Weight-Lifting World Championships in Paris earlier this month, creating a new PB with a combined lift of 204kg, well over the 196kg standards set for qualification. Despite the Olympic 'A' standard being just an extra kilogram at 205kg, Smith opted not to pursue it due to her long injury lay-off.
Smith's progression as a weight-lifter since she turned full-time is evident for all to see. Although, sacrifices have to be made when in pursuit of athletic glory, be it postponing academic commitments or moving away from friends and family.
So has 'Britain's strongest schoolgirl' found the adjustment difficult?
"Absolutely, as I'm still really a kid more or less," she honestly admits. "Its quite tough now its a full-time job. Im in the gym six-days-a-week, sometimes with double sessions, and just Sundays off.
"When I was living at home I was training after school for a couple of hours, then I went home and just chilled out in the evening.
"It was more of a past-time than my whole life, so it has been a massive change stepping up to be a full-time athlete."