New UK Athletics performance director Dave Collins has played down talk that his appointment came as a shock.
The sport's ruling body broke with convention by employing psychologist Collins instead of someone with a coaching background in athletics.
But Collins told BBC Sport: "I think I've been in the frame for a while.
"I couldn't comment whether I was the first choice or not but (UKA chief) David Moorcroft said I was the first person that they offered the job to."
The 50-year-old has been an integral part of the sport's elite performance system, working with Team GB at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics.
And Collins admitted it was after listening to colleagues while in Athens this summer that he decided to put his name forward.
He revealed: "People were saying to me 'why aren't you going for the performance job?'
"Candidates who'd been approached for the job said 'you'd be really good for this job, you should go for it'.
"At the time I didn't because I thought it was a done deal but it became obvious what UK Athletics were looking for was not what people might think is the traditional position, but a particular blend of skills which I thought I had."
Collins has a wide-ranging background, from being in the Royal Marines to his most recent position as professor of physical education and sport performance at Edinburgh University.
He has worked with Steve Backley and the successful GB curling team but is under no illusions as to the enormity of the task.
He said: "My biggest challenge will be getting my brain around the complexity of the job and being able to apportion my effort appropriately.
"It'd be a big job for anybody. If I had spent my entire life working in athletics it would still be a big job.
"Immediately I'm going to be in there listening and learning a lot. I need to get the perspective from the important players if you like.
"Then I'll be able to put together some plans which make more common the excellent examples of good practice which there are in UK Athletics.
"It's good in parts but it could be better. I'm not necessarily worried if we don't get medals at one youth championships so long as we're seeing people with both the talent and the capacity to perform on the world stage coming through.
"I want to put in a world-class system of support and development that means the sport continues to improve."
"UK Athletics would be an amazing organisation if it didn't need a shake-up.
"We're doing lots of things right but we need to refine this and make it more common."