Video: Olympic bronze medallist Tom Walsh ready for a massive 2017

This year was good for shot put star Tom Walsh, but he reckons 2017 could be "next level".

As New Zealand's best-ever shot-putter, Walsh knows all about crowds and how to perform in front of them, and his confidence is sky-high after a career-best 2016.

"Winning the world indoor was special," says Walsh.

"To stand on the podium and hear the national anthem made a very proud Kiwi."

Walsh threw 21.78 metres to win easily while fellow Kiwi and long rival Jacko Gill was ninth. Not long ago, Gill was the man to beat and not many had heard of Walsh.

Everyone knows him now and wants to hear about his rise from obscurity to stardom.

After a bronze at the Rio Olympics, his first-ever Diamond League Title and a personal best of 22.21 metres, he is at the top of his game.

"I wouldn't be doing this sport if I didn't think I could break the world record. So I want to give it a real go and it's been around for too long."

The current world record is 23.12, set by American Randy Barnes in 1990, though his career was tainted by a suspension and then a ban for steroid violations.

But Walsh's popularity is not just about his success.

He is seen as a good bloke, an affable 24-year-old who mixes track and field with his real job as a builder.

"The boys on the work site don't want to know about weights or how far I'm throwing; they want to talk about Saturday night, cars,  girls - things like that."

Next year will see him back on the circuit, basing himself in Athens, Georgia and competing around the world.

Top of the wish list is London in August at the World Championships.

"To win the world championships is a big one," says Walsh.

And there'll be no lack of well-wishers along the way.