As a tall Napier teenager, Shelley Kalivati (née Hadfield) grew up wanting to play for the Silver Ferns.
While she had to revisit those dreams after a terrible car crash left her paralysed from the waist down, sport remained a big part of the New Zealand Paralympian's life.
"After my accident sport helped me find my oomph in life again.
"I'll be forever thankful that I got back into sport and represented my country as a Paralympian."
Kalivati suffered a T12-L1 break in her spine, after she was thrown from the family van on the way to an aunt's wedding, and the van rolled on top of her.
She said it was the dividing line for her sporting ambitions.
However, a visit from Paralympic champion Rob Courtney set her wheels in motion.
"Rob was very good at sprinting, something we had in common. He found out that I was interested in sport and had done lots of sport before the accident."
He encouraged her to play basketball, and then track racing and it wasn't long before Kalivati felt "like a sportsperson again".
Fast forward to the Stoke Mandeville 1984 Paralympic Games and Kalivati was not only a Paralympic champion and double gold medallist for New Zealand, she was the new world record holder in the Pentathlon 3.
Her Paralympic Games medal haul included an impressive two golds with the 200m 3 sprint title as well, and two silvers in the 100m 3 and slalom 3.
"So sport has been really good to me, but the pentathlon is still my favourite.
"I may not have been as physically strong in the shotput and javelin as some of my competitors, but I knew that I would do them on the track.
"I remember really pushing hard in those field events to give myself the best chance."
Apart from dreaming of a Silver Ferns bib, the other thing she had always wanted was to be a policewoman.
She's spent the past two decades as a police dispatcher based in Wellington – a high pressure job which she loves.
"Success in sport gave me the drive I needed to do other things.
"Initially, because I was so into sports, I went to Lincoln University and tried Parks and Recreation management studies.
"Then I realised that if I really wanted something, I could do it."
Kalivati was officially recognised for her sporting success at The Celebration Project event in Wellington earlier this week, where she was awarded an official 'numbered' pin – for being the 50th New Zealand Paralympian – by Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy.
She was joined by 17 other Paralympians representing teams that competed at Paralympic Games from Heidelberg 1972 to Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.