The taste of gold has made me even hungrier for more success.

That’s certainly how I feel as the road to the next Olympics grows shorter.

I may have won Olympic gold at Rio in 2016 as an 18-year-old. But for many reasons I am even hungrier now to experience the same in Tokyo in 2020.

I came into Rio as an unknown just wanting to make a final.

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 01: Kyle Chalmers look to the scoreboard after winning the final of the Men's 100m Freestyle during the 2018 Australian Swimming National Trials at the Optus Aquatic Centre on March 1, 2018 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)
GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 01: Kyle Chalmers look to the scoreboard after winning the final of the Men’s 100m Freestyle during the 2018 Australian Swimming National Trials at the Optus Aquatic Centre on March 1, 2018 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

Then it all happened for me – an unbelievable race that resulted in gold in the 100m freestyle. But in some ways I had taken that amazing moment for granted.

So, when it rolls around again after four years I will be even more motivated for success.

This time I will appreciate and acknowledge the hard work and sacrifices that it took to hopefully be again in a final.

Now I know that the rewards that come through that hard work are worth it.

There are many things about the Olympics that I want to return to.

At Rio I won my gold in the first week. Of course that was an incredible high, which resulted in the second week being consumed with media commitments.

Kyle Chalmers exclusive insight 2

This time around I also want to experience the full Olympic lifestyle. I want to be part of the Olympic Village and enjoy everything about being an Olympian.

This time around I want to stand behind the blocks and take it all in.

And there is no way I am taking anything for granted.

There is still plenty of hard work between now and Tokyo.

Sure, the early morning training sessions, six days a week can be a grind and really tests the enthusiasm sometimes, but I actually enjoy the hard work.

I love the aches and pains that come through giving everything you have at training because I know what success that pain can bring. I know it is worth it.

Kyle Chalmers exclusive insight 2

I am still the same country boy from Port Lincoln who went into the Rio Olympics as an unknown, completely under the radar. That experience did change me.

I went into this year’s Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast as the one to watch. The focus was on me. Initially I found it daunting. Sure, as a junior I always had eyes on me. But the spotlight is so much brighter at senior level.

However, I also knew that one of my strengths through my junior career was, the more the pressure, the better I performed. And that was certainly the case at the Commonwealth Games.

As the Games progressed I really enjoyed being on home soil and being the person people were looking out for.

It certainly lifted my performances (individual gold and silver and three relay gold medals). The same at the following Pan Pacs (one gold, two silver and a bronze).

Rio not only forced changes on the pool deck, but also away from the pool. All of a sudden I was a national focus. Immediately after I had won Olympic gold at Rio there was some fanfare.

But I was in a bubble and a small fish in a big pond. Around me were the likes of Usain Bolt, Rafael Nadal, Michael Phelps and the American basketball Dream Team. It wasn’t until I got home that I was shocked by the public reaction to what I had achieved.

Australia’s swimmer Kyle Chalmers competes in the men’s 100m freestyle final of the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships 2018 in Tokyo, on August 10, 2018. (Photo by Martin BUREAU / AFP) (Photo credit should read MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images)

I struggled with the whole ‘fame thing’ that lasted for about six months. It is great that people recognised me and wanted photos and autographs.

It was just something that I wasn’t used to and took a while to adjust to. And of course I am not alone. All athletes who are successful have to cope with that for a while.

So, the ride over the past couple of years has been incredible, but there was never a chance I was going to get carried away with success.

Kyle Chalmers exclusive insight 2

I can guarantee my family and long-time friends keep me very grounded. I love where I grew up on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia. I go back there as often as I can and that is where I want to live eventually. That’s home.

It’s also the place and people that taught me that while swimming and winning is great, there is so much more to life.

Yes, I love the fierce competition in the pool, but I get as much fun from the travel and the team environment and that is where I draw my motivation from.

That team environment will play a major role over the next 18 months as the countdown to Tokyo quickens. The trips away, the camps, the small comps and time spent as a team helps keep us all fresh, active and focussed.

There is no doubt the hunger for gold won’t diminish.