Sharni Williams will never forget the number 132. For months the Australian women's sevens skipper had been writing the days-to-go Olympic Games countdown on the back of her hand to serve as a constant reminder of her gold-medal mission.
Then she got to 132 days to go and ... coronavirus. "That was the realisation that maybe I started too soon," Williams said.
"But that's how excited I was. I was writing it on my hand every day so that every time I made a tackle or did a get-up off the ground, it was a visual reminder of that's why I was doing it. Now it has all changed."
Williams and the rest of Austrlaia's Olympic community of athletes will stop over the next two weeks to think about what could have been if not for the coronavirus chaos.
They should be in Tokyo, mingling with athletes from around the world and competing for national pride.
Instead they'll be training, hoping the COVID-19 concerns ease enough to allow the postponed Games to go ahead in Tokyo next year.
Williams and her world No. 2 teammates spent their week running up sand dunes at Cronulla, a world away from the opening ceremony they were supposed to be walking into.
Williams says the desire to win back to back gold medals is fuelling her motivation for the rescheduled event, admitting to dark days but adamant the rollercoaster of this year will make her stronger and more resilient.
She has stopped writing numbers on her hand - for now at least - but is still training for the same golden goal.
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"When it all happened you wonder if you're going to get a chance to go to an Olympics again, or for me, a 32-year-old, if I'll get to play rugby again," Williams said.
"When we went to the Rio Olympics [in 2016] I was living the dream of an eight-year-old girl, because that's how long I had been waiting. This time it's different, I'm a 32-year-old setting new goals.
"When you're older you have to start self motivating ... wondering what the next journey and goal is. I visualise myself on the podium every single day."
Some Canberra athletes have missed their Olympic moment. Sprinter Melissa Breen retired earlier this month, ending her hopes of becoming a three-time Olympian.
Kelsey-Lee Barber is the reigning javelin world champion and was at the peak of her powers, but she will have to rebuild and recharge to stay at the top in another 12 months.
For others, like Canberra Capitals star Kelsey Griffin and BMX champion Caroline Buchanan, the delay has given them a time to recover from injuries, keeping Olympic hopes alive.
Williams said the experience would bring athletes from all sports closer together. She said Australian team chef de mission Ian Chesterman had called to check how she was coping, and the former Canberra Royals star is determine to walk into the opening ceremony on July 23 next year.
"It was a little scary when COVID hit. Maybe I won't get to play rugby again, but you have to let those dark thoughts happen," Williams said.
"Otherwise I don't think you experience how much you want it, and the motivation comes from that. I was devastated the Olympics were cancelled.
"Then we found out they were postponed. Then you start to go back through the process and I was able to look at why I play and what it gives me. It's shaped me into the person I am today ... I'd still be a shy country kid without rugby.
Australia's men's and women's sevens players took a 60 per cent pay cut as part of the Rugby Australia wage reductions during the coronavirus shutdown.
But the AIS has stepped in to help, announcing a $2.2 million grant to support the players and the program.
"That was massive for us. We're already scraping the barrel and that was another scary thing about it," Williams said.
"I've been a part of Rugby Australia for 12 years, I've seen it go from nothing to full-time professional. But the AIS funding has kept us alive and fighting.
"It's brought all athletes closer together. That's what the Olympics does, that's what it's about. Ian Chesterman got a hold of my number and called me ... that's saying something.
"This dream is different. But we still back ourselves. We had 143 personal bests in the gym when we came back, that shows we're still hungry. We're going to keep reaching higher and higher. We don't want to be followers, we want others to catch us."