“I look at him as a British knight trying to conquer the toughest competitors and when he is fighting it's incredible what he can do”
Patrice RemarckAaron Cook's coach
"I started taekwondo because of the Power Rangers, I was five years old and trying all of their moves with my brother,"
told BBC Sport.
"Sometimes I visualise my opponents as if they're trying to destroy the world and I have to save the day, that helps me get through some of the matches."
Yet Cook has had to grow up during a turbulent Olympic cycle.
The Dorset-born fighter entered the 2011 World Championships in South Korea as the event favourite.
However, he suffered an
first-round elimination and just a month later sensationally
quit the GB programme
to "pursue his own development programme" and find the love for the sport he had as a youngster.
Results over the past 10 months suggest the move has worked.
"It's absolutely fantastic at the moment, I've won eight gold medals in the last year and I'm really happy with the team that I'm working with."
'Team Cook' consists of Luke, Aaron's brother, who films and researches opponents; strength and conditioning coach Mick Clegg, who formerly worked with Manchester United; and technical coach
Leaving the British team meant Cook was forced to forego his UK Sport funding and, in addition to being made an honorary Power Ranger, he has enlisted the backing of
nine commercial sponsors
in order to pay his support staff.
Cook wants multiple Olympic gold medals
"It's been extremely difficult since I've left as I'm completely self-funded," reflected Cook.
"There has been a lot of sacrifice. At times in the past my parents have been working two or three jobs just to help fund me, which has been amazing, but now I'd be lost without the support of my sponsors - I'd need a job to get me to the Olympics."
However, they demand time and after the
highly publicised fall-out
between Tom Daley and GB diving performance director Alexei Evangulov over the teenager's media commitments, Cook is well aware of the need for balance.
"It is quite difficult [managing requests] but I know the most important thing is training and competing.
"Obviously I've got to give something back to my sponsors though, because at the end of the day they're funding my Olympic Dream, and if I have time I can give to them then I will do."
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