A LOT can change in a short space of time in sport and few know that better than Culburra Beach's Owen Wright, who booked his Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games ticket on Thursday (Wednesday Hawaiian time).
Nearly four years ago to the day, Wright was dealing with a head injury sustained at the Pipeline Masters.
This injury caused him to miss the whole 2016 World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) season.
There were even fears the Culburra Beach Boardrider might never surf again.
But after making a dramatic return to the waves, by winning the 2017 Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast, the now 29-year-old hasn't looked back.
So much the 2019 year has been one of his best ever.
Due to this top-10 finish and the placings of the other Australian WSL athletes, such as Julian Wilson (11th), Ryan Callinan (13th), Wade Carmichael (15th) and Jack Freestone (16th), it was announced on Thursday (Wednesday Hawaiian time) Wright is provisionally the first Aussie male off to Tokyo.
Related content:Fitzgibbons earns Olympic selection
Wright, who has four CT tour events to his name, is now one of eight surfers who have grabbed one of the 10 WSL spots available at Tokyo 2020.
Joining him are Brazil's Italo Ferreira and Gabriel Medina, France's Michel Bourez and Jeremy Flores, United States' Kolohe Andinho, Japan's Kanoa Igarashi and South Africa's Jordy Smith - with a second Australian and US spot still to be determined.
And in @Olympics news, congratulations to four more surfers for making history! @gabriel1medina, @ferreiraitalo15, @michelspartan and @RealOwenWright are now one of the 18 athletes the WSL Championship Tour will provisionally qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games! pic.twitter.com/L8i3Zh68Id— World Surf League (@wsl) December 12, 2019
Other surfers to have qualified thus far are Morocco's Ramiz Boukhiam, Japan's Shun Murakami, Portugal's Frederico Morais, New Zealand's Billy Stairmand and Peru's Lucca Mesinas - with 20 total spots available.
Wright becomes the second South Coast surfer to book their spot at the Olympics after Gerroa's Sally Fitzgibbons qualified in October.