However cross-country skier Andrew Musgrave believes even four years will be too soon; indeed his long-term plan for a podium place stretches all the way until the 2022 Olympics, venue unknown.
Musgrave endured a disappointing end to his debut Games when partner and Huntly Ski Club team-mate Andrew Young was forced to pull out of the team sprint with a stomach bug.
In a sport where athletes do not peak until their late 20s, Musgrave, who celebrates his 20th birthday next week, is prepared to be patient.
"I know it will be maybe eight or even 12 years before I am really at my peak but I am trying not to look too far ahead," he said.
"I am just focusing year on year mostly and setting myself goals for next year. There is no point looking too far ahead because you don't know what is going to happen.
"There is a lot of sacrifice involved, I spend a long time away from home and my friends and family but the rewards you get if you do well I think are worth it - and that is something I want to do.
"There are many teenagers in the cross-country field and I have to go into next season confident that I can make the jump up to senior level."
World Cup leader Petter Northug and Oeystein Pettersen combined to deliver Norway the team sprint title - and Musgrave hopes to take inspiration from the Nordic powerhouse.
"My next priority is the Norwegian junior championships, it will be tough and very different from here but it's where I really need to prove myself," added Musgrave.
"I think the block of racing during the Olympics has put me into great shape - it's just a shame I wasn't in this form two weeks ago.
"I'm feeling pretty good about my chances and I'm hopeful of picking up a medal."
Musgrave admits his performances in Vancouver have been disappointing: 51st in the 30km pursuit, 55th in 15km and 58th in the individual sprint.
But coach Roy Young remains optimistic that his young charge is charting the right path.
"It isn't bad coming to the Winter Olympics at my age, it has been a really good experience but I haven't performed as I would have liked," added Musgrave.
"Next year will be my first year as a senior and hopefully I can make the jump up. My goal for the next year is to be getting within the middle of the World Cup fields and getting towards World Cup points.
"I've got a pathway of how I should be improving year after year and I know that I've got to be patient and understand it's a long-term plan."