The rearranged Olympic Games remain the dream driving Chris Goulding as the Tasmanian basketball star bounces back to action in the NBL.
Sidelined for a month with a low-grade calf injury, the Launceston-born shooting guard returned to the court against Brisbane Bullets on Sunday to the obvious delight of his employers.
"It sure was great to have him back," reported Melbourne United, with whom Goulding signed a three-year contract extension in July 2020.
Second only to Perth Wildcats in terms of NBL titles won, United weren't done there with their talismanic captain's performance in a meeting of the two teams he has helped to championships.
"The superstar wasted no time getting back into the groove of things, shooting the lights out from deep on his way to 21 points.
"Everybody knows just how dangerous Goulding is when he gets going and he almost did enough to drag United back after the team had a slow start to the game.
"We've seen exactly what he is capable of for years and more often than not, he rises to the occasion."
Not content with that, the 32-year-old then set his sights on South East Melbourne, home of another Launceston-born Olympian and championship-winning teammate, Adam Gibson.
Having already helped steer ladder-leading United home earlier in the season with 19 points, four rebounds and three assists against the Phoenix, Goulding added a team-high 22 on Wednesday night but couldn't prevent a 97-92 overtime loss.
Goulding's NBL stats are nothing short of ground-breaking.
Across 308 career games in the national competition he averages nearly 28 minutes on court, has twice made the all-NBL first team while his two championships were separated by 11 years.
He made the competition's first individual 50-point contribution since it reverted to 40-minute games in the Tigers' 2014 defeat of Sydney Kings.
Captaining United to the 2018 title, he claimed grand final MVP honours after averaging 19.6 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists over the thrilling five-game series.
In the style of Cristiano Ronaldo's famous CR7 moniker, Goulding's NBL profile calls him: "The man known simply as CG43."
His 14-year NBL career began with the Bullets before subsequent spells with Perth Wildcats (2008-09), Gold Coast Blaze (2009-2012), Melbourne Tigers (2012-14) and Melbourne United.
Averaging 17.5 points per game this season, Goulding has been instrumental in United topping the ladder with 10 wins and two losses.
However, it is on the international arena where Goulding has unfinished business.
Making his international debut in 2014 and winning an Oceania Championship a year later, Goulding was in the 2016 Australian Olympic squad which finished second to USA in their group, defeated Lithuania in the quarter-finals but then lost their semi to Serbia and missed their first ever Olympic medal by one point, losing 89-88 to Spain.
Goulding played limited minutes in Rio but showed his potential against Venezuela scoring 22 points, including six triples, in 25 minutes on the court.
Two years later he played a pivotal role in leading Australia to Commonwealth Games success on home soil, playing alongside fellow West Launceston Primary School old boy Lucas Walker, who has since retired.
Goulding, who was born in Tasmania while his father, Chris, was winning best and fairest awards with North Launceston, was last month shortlisted for another Olympics.
Given the depth of Brian Goorjian's 24-man squad, which includes 12 with NBA experience, seven backing up from Rio and is headlined by Patty Mills, Joe Ingles, Matthew Dellavedova and two-time NBA All-Star Ben Simmons, Goulding faces a big ask to remain when the the final 12-member team is announced by the Australia Olympic Committee later this year.
Goorjian was giving nothing away when discussing the world-ranked No.3 team.
"It is a well-balanced squad selected by position with a nice blend of experience coupled with a lot of new and exciting players coming through," he said.
"These are our top 24 available players and included is significant representation from the NBL, showing the strength of our local league where the standard of competition is recognised worldwide.
When Hawks president Jeff Kennett says Tasmania can't afford a team, it is worth remembering that the state has been paying for his for the last 20 years.— Rob Shaw (@TheShawThing) March 3, 2021
And St Kilda. And North Melbourne.
A week of short memories and vested interests in AFLland.https://t.co/I2CTqWXk9x
"I have spoken to each player over the past fortnight and have been extremely impressed, to a man, by their overwhelming desire to play for Australia in Tokyo."
Goulding's family moved to Queensland when he was seven, but the photogenic figurehead has never forgotten where his journey began.
"I started playing basketball in Launceston. It all got a lot more competitive in Brisbane but it definitely started there," he told The Examiner in 2016.
"Basketball has been really good to me, I'm glad I stuck with it. I'm proud to say I can play it as a job and it has taken me all over the world. It's been a massive part of my life and I'm living how I am because of what it's done for me, and that all started in Launceston."