Hannah Cockroft says the fear of ‘scary’ expectation is powering her pursuit of yet more Paralympic glory in Paris.
The seven-time champion is aiming for her fourth Games this summer after shooting to fame at London 2012.
The Halifax Hurricane, 31, has been almost unbeatable ever since but with every title she wins and world record she breaks, the pressure continues to grow to near-deafening levels.
And 14-time world champion Cockroft, speaking as an ambassador for Dreams, the Official Sleep Partner for Team GB, ParalympicsGB and Special Olympics GB, said: “I think part of what keeps me going is fear, a fear of expectation, I guess.
“I know how much people expect of me and I expect that of myself as well.
"I would hate to sit on a start line and feel like I haven't prepared 100%, the absolute best I can for the race that I'm about to commit to. I think in the past, I almost thrived under that expectation. It was almost like ‘People expect me to win, so that means I'm going to win’.
“It was almost a little bit cocky that I am the best in the world and eventually that comes back to bite you and it did for me. And I had to learn very quickly that gaps close, and people get quicker and I am getting older. So I have to work harder than I've ever worked before.
“Now the expectation is scary because people expect it so much that if something does go wrong, they're not very nice about it.”
Dreams will be supporting their ambassadors in the lead up to the Games by ensuring they get the best night's sleep to aid recovery on their journey
The defeat, which still saw her claim a place on the podium clearly, rankles the Halifax native even now. But she will not allow other people to tell her a silver medal is not good enough come Paris 2024.
She added: "There is that expectation of only gold is good enough, which I feel like I can have that expectation, I feel like any athlete should have that expectation," who is being supported by Dreams, via a sleep pack, which includes cooling pillow protectors that help regulate temperature, a mattress topper for supreme comfort, as well as a variety of other sleep accessories in a bid to ensure she's at her best in Paris.
As a trusted partner, Dreams is providing support for every ParalympicsGB athlete in Paris via a sleep pack
"But when someone not involved in sport turns their nose up at a silver, a silver is an incredible achievement, a bronze is an incredible achievement, and still top three in the whole world and it's amazing.
"So if I get to the point in my career, where I'm winning those, I think I'll still be super proud of it. But I think it'll be other people's expectations that will ruin the moment.
"So it's trying to always look at expectation and just think of that as more that people believe that you can do it rather than they will only accept a gold.
"But some days, the only thing you can see is gold and it seems a very long way away."
Dreams, the UK’s leading bed retailer, has been helping the nation find ‘The Bed’ for almost 40 years. Dreams has invested in innovative Sleepmatch technology in all its stores and is proud to be the Official Sleep Partner for Team GB, ParalympicsGB and Special Olympics GB.