Heading into her first appearance at an Olympic Games, Erica Dawson walked into the athlete's village in Tokyo on crutches.
In June, a month out from the start of the Games, the Kiwi sailor's Olympic dream hung in the balance after she fell off her Nacra 17 catamaran while she and skipper Micah Wilkinson were training in Australia.
With the boat going at a decent speed, around 20 knots, Dawson fell and hit the boat's rudder. It broke the fibula in her left leg.
"It's not the main load-bearing bone so I think in terms of breakages, it was probably the best one I could have done," Dawson recalls.
"I didn't think it was broken so I was quite shocked. I was straight away thinking if it was possible [to still make it to the Olympics] and what I can do to be able to be on that start line.
"It was definitely in doubt at the beginning, but I had an amazing team around me ... we did the best we could. Luckily, I seem to be a fast healer, and it worked."
For Dawson, there was a determination to be fit for her first Olympic regatta, particularly given she was one of several sailors who had to put their duties with New Zealand's SailGP team on the backburner in order to prepare for the event.
While the 27-year-old admits the injury did affect her first few sails in Tokyo, once the regatta got under way it was the least of her worries.
"I didn't feel that comfortable and was just trying to get used to the boat again," Dawson says of getting back on the Nacra 17 in Tokyo. "But by the time racing came around a week later it wasn't on my mind at all; I was just focusing on the racing and kind of forgot about it."
After a 12th-placed finish at the Olympics and some time back home in Auckland to recharge, Dawson can now turn her full attention back to the SailGP campaign, starting with this weekend's event in Saint-Tropez in the south of France.
The 2021-22 season of SailGP is four events deep, but Dawson has been able to attend only one of those so far due to other commitments. That was the first event of the season in Bermuda, where the Kiwis faced a steep learning curve with little time on the water in the F50 before the first race day for the season.
"It was epic," Dawson says of the SailGP stop in Bermuda.
"The boats are just so incredible, it's an awesome team that I'm a part of. There's some great sailors and I'm just feeling really privileged to be involved."
Because the New Zealand team do not have a coach, Dawson has found herself helping the team on the side of things, analysing the data that comes off the boats in real-time, seeing what is and isn't working and feeding that back to the sailors.
In France this weekend, the Kiwi team will look to improve their claim to a podium spot after a fifth-placed finish in Denmark last month. There was plenty going on in the event as the conditions went from one end of the wind spectrum to the other, with the teams having to sail three-up (only three sailors on board instead of five) on the final day due to a lack of wind.
"It was a really exciting event to watch, in a way," Dawson says. "Sailing three-up is definitely different; the sailors have a whole lot more to do. They can't really look around as much; they have to focus on taking on all these other roles at the same time.
"I think the New Zealand team have really taken some big strides forward recently. It's really cool to have the whole team back together. With the Olympics it had meant we didn't have the same team for all the events, so it's really good to have everyone back together and they've made some big strides with speed and starting, which is really cool to see.
"We've definitely come a long way, and there is a lot more to gain."