Wide-eyed 19-year-old Saya Sakakibara arrived at the 2019 BMX World Championships with no fear and no pressure.
She blitzed the opening rounds and entered the gold-medal race as the highest seed.
Suddenly all eyes were on the Helensburgh athlete. The pressure was enormous. Sakakibara concedes she wilted in the spotlight.
"It was the best day and the worst day at the same time," Sakakibara said. "Being the last person called out before the gate drops was crazy for me, I was so overwhelmed.
"In the sense of being fastest qualifier, it was a great day, but a few moments later I had a bad start and crashed by myself on the first jump."
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Fast forward two years and the now 21-year-old is in Tokyo determined to make amends for that day.
An athlete with Japanese heritage who spent six years living in the country, Sakakibara has long targeted gold at these Games.
Saya will be riding for more than just herself on Thursday and Friday, with brother Kai at front of mind.
Kai's Olympic dream was dashed after a heavy crash last February that left him fighting for his life.
That has left Saya to race for the two of them in pursuit of gold. After struggling in the spotlight two years ago, she is ready to step up in Tokyo.
"I know what I did wrong," Sakakibara said. "I didn't get the process right on the day. I also had the goal of making the final, so once I made the final I switched off and didn't have anything else to keep striving for.
"That was a big learning experience to make sure I'm not taking the pressure off myself too early, until the race is done.
"It was also a big learning to know I can be right up there with the top girls. I had wins against them and when I'm focused I can put down a good performance."
Sakakibara's quest for glory will not be easy, with Colombia's Mariana Pajon the two-time defending champion.
Alise Willoughby, wife of former Australian star Sam Willoughby, is the current World Champion and Rio silver medalist, while Dutch sisters Laura and Merel Smulders will also be in the mix for a top-three finish.
Making Sakakibara's task even tougher is the fact COVID has limited her racing opportunities in the past 18 months.
The Australian opted to skip the latest round of World Cup events, instead choosing to complete a heavy training block at home.
While consistency is rewarded in the opening two rounds of the competition, there are no second chances in Friday's final.
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Six riders will line up for a winner-takes-all dash for gold.
While the lack of racing is in the back of her mind, Sakakibara is confident her training has her ready to race.
"There is that bit of an unknown where I sit within the competition, but there are many other athletes in the same boat as me,'' she said.
"When I'm racing them I'm going to be at my peak. I'm going to be in the best shape I could possibly be, that's all I can can trust and focus on."