Gemili not star-struck now
Adam Gemili is looking to return from the World Championships in Moscow with rather more than just a tale about Usain Bolt for his mates.
The 19-year-old, who burst on to the scene last summer after switching from football to athletics and reaching the 100 metres semi-finals at London 2012, will race over the 200m at the Luzhniki Stadium.
Usain Bolt will take to the blue Mondo too, starting his bid for a second gold of the championships.
Gemili, who could have been lining up for Dagenham and Redbridge at Scunthorpe at the weekend had he stuck with the beautiful game, admits he still has to pinch himself when in such illustrious company.
He said: "I was very star struck. I spoke to my coach (Michael Afilaka) at great length and he said these guys train, do the same work we do, you are all human and everyone can be beaten.
"Now to get to know them off the track as well, seeing them in hotels, is really quite cool.
"When you are sitting in uni, you are sitting there trying to listen to the lecturer and you are thinking, 'I bet they are training, doing their own thing'.
"My college friends ask me for some stories about the guys, some stories from the Olympics about how they are and what they are like.
"I just tell them that they are cool guys. They are really down to earth. No-one's got a big ego, which is nice."
Gemili admits he was affected mentally by the names alongside him at London 2012, although only being denied a final place by Yohan Blake and Tyson Gay was still some achievement.
He feels more comfortable alongside the sport's biggest names, now, although the sense of wonderment has not gone entirely.
He bumped into Bolt at the Olympics and again at the warm-up track at the Luzhniki last week.
"It's really cool for me as a 19-year-old to be cool with the fastest man on the planet," he said.
Even better was the news that Bolt took note of his victory in the 100m at the World Junior Championships in Barcelona last year and said he was "impressed".
This year, despite a succession of injuries which have hampered his progress, Gemili has added 100m gold at the European Under-23 Championships and run a 200m personal best of 20.30 seconds.
It is certainly a fry cry from the lower reaches of the fourth tier of English football.
"At the Olympics I was thinking, 'Wow, six months ago I was putting on football boots and getting ready to go kick a ball about, now I am lining up with the quickest men in the world'," he said.
He still enjoys a kick-about with his friends.
"I trust them, they won't do anything stupid like two-footed tackles", he insists.
In the stadium that hosted the 2008 Champions League final, though, his mind will be firmly on his current love.
"The aim for myself is to make the final and once you make the final anything can happen," he said. "You never know. Someone can false start or pull out with an injury, it's so unpredictable."