Italian triathlete Angelica Olmo is determined to be as successful in the sport as her Spanish idol Mario Mola.
Olmo has been in awe of the 2017 world champion and world number one since she sought his autograph in 2013.
"Five years ago I was asking Mario for an autograph and now I have had the chance to swim, cycle and run alongside him," the Pavia-born athlete said.
"Mario is the perfect champion and an inspiration for me. He always has a good word and a smile to share."
Olmo spent winter in the Canary Islands at a training camp with another hero, American Katie Zaferes, who is currently dominating the women's ITU World Triathlon Series, and other top athletes.
"We trained intensively every day for three months" Olmo said. "But it was an amazing experience that opened up my eyes. I suddenly realised that my job had become serious."
This golden opportunity coincided with the arrival in January 2017 of Canada's Joel Filliol as Olympic performance director for the Italian team.
Filliol is well known on the triathlon circuit for coaching Mola, Zaferes, and other successful athletes.
But while Mola will not compete at the Glasgow 2018, Olmo will take part in her first senior European Championships.
"Mario taught me that, even if you have a weakness in your triathlon, there is always room to improve. It's a big boost for me," the 2016 under-23 European champion said.
"Being part of this training group made me realise that I am able to work hard and can aim at bigger goals. I am only 22 years old but I want to achieve similar results to them in my career.
"In Glasgow I want to make the top 10, and I believe in our mixed relay team. We are young but our opponents should not underestimate our potential."
When Olmo was 11 years old, she was training as a ballet dancer. Now she is a professional triathlete who achieved her first elite podium with third place at the Astana world cup event last May.
"Triathlon turned my life around," she added. "I made my job my passion, which rarely happens. I feel luckier and luckier every day."
The triathlon competition will take place at Strathclyde Country Park from 9-11 August.
For more information: https://www.glasgow2018.com/bethere-triathlon