Colin Nicholson was speaking after Wrestling was chosen as one of the three sports to stay in the running for inclusion at the 2020 Olympics.
Wrestling lost its spot on the curriculum after the London Games but was one of eight sports to make presentations to the International Olympic Committee's Executive Board on Wednesday, with all eight hoping to gain the final spot available for seven years' time.
Wrestling, squash and baseball/softball all survived the secret voting, with karate, roller sports, sporting climbing, wakeboarding and wushu missing out. Three will become one when the Executive Board meets in September.
It is a welcome relief for wrestling - one of the Games' founding sports - after fearing it was out in the cold just a matter of months ago.
"We needed to get to this step and we now have three months to prepare for the next phase," said Nicholson.
"We have had three months to get our plans together, whereas baseball/softball and squash have had lots more time, so we now start again from a level playing field."
Wrestling is thought to be the overriding favourite to win the next stage of voting, but Nicholson knows, after losing its place initially, the sport cannot take anything for granted.
"Losing the spot was a wake-up call for wrestling and now we want to take a step into the future with our new plans," he added.
"It may turn out to be the best thing to have happened to us. Wrestling is the most ancient of sports and we just need to get that decision in September now."
Optimism is also high within the game of squash. Already a Commonwealth sport, the game is on a high following a successful British Open in Hull last week and world number two Laura Massaro, who won the event, feels Olympic recognition is long overdue.
The 29-year-old had to watch the London games with a heavy heart, feeling her sport should have been at the top table.
"I watched quite a lot of it. As a sports lover it was absolutely amazing. What everyone achieved was brilliant," she said.
"But a part of me was quite upset that squash hadn't been included in it, and we hadn't been given the chance to compete."
Squash missed out on a place for the 2016 Games in Rio, and Massaro hopes it will be a case of second time lucky.
"It's extremely positive that we've managed to make the shortlist again and hopefully the news can be positive in September when the big decision is made on whether we get into the Games.
"We've been trying to make the IOC aware of how fantastic the sport is, how it encompasses everything you'd want from an Olympic sport - it's got the endurance side, the physical side, the speed and technical and tactical aspects."
The president of the World Squash Federation, N Ramachandran, led the sport's presentation to the IOC, and hopes that conveying how large a number play squash will have had an impact.
"It was important that our presentation communicated the scale and breadth of innovations that squash has introduced over the last few years, in particular in key areas such as broadcasting, and I believe we did that," he said.
The final sport to make it through, Baseball/Softball, is a growing one in this country, but one of the British Softball Federation's development officers believes the numbers would be there should 2020 access be granted.
Trevor Clissold works for a federation which lists more than 7,000 active players and he believes the sport is ready to take off.
"We weren't among the favourites to go through so this is fantastic news," he said.
"We know there is more work to do before September but the game is in good shape. We have lots of players and had our UK Sport funding matched, whereas others, such as tennis and rugby, lost some.
"We are a developing sport and this is the news we needed."
The IOC will reconvene in Buenos Aires in September to decide which sport will join the 25 core ones as well as golf and rugby sevens.
"The executive board received excellent presentations today from eight international federations,'' said IOC president Jacques Rogge.
"It was never going to be an easy decision but I feel my colleagues on the board made a good decision in selecting baseball/softball, squash and wrestling to be put forward in Buenos Aires."
The IOC executive board vote followed 30-minute presentations by each International federation and an extensive evaluation by the Olympic Programme Commission to determine their potential added value to the Games.
Whichever sport succeeds in the September vote will be added to the 25 core sports, plus golf and rugby sevens, proposed by the executive board in February.
"The Executive Board received excellent presentations today from eight International Federations," said IOC President Jacques Rogge.
"It was never going to be an easy decision but I feel my colleagues on the Board made a good decision in selecting baseball/softball, squash and wrestling to be put forward in Buenos Aires.
"I wish the three shortlisted sports the best of luck in the run-up to the vote in September and would like to thank the other sports for their hard work and dedication."
In an effort to ensure the Olympic Games remain relevant to sports fans of all generations, the Olympic Programme Commission systematically reviews every sport following each edition of the Games.
The Commission uses 39 criteria in determining a sport's suitability for the Olympic Games, including youth appeal, universality, popularity, good governance, respect for athletes and respect for the Olympic values.
Golf and rugby sevens were added in 2009 as additional sports to the 2016 Olympic programme.