Just weeks before her Olympic Games debut, Gerroa's Sally Fitzgibbons has revisited the 2015 moment that still drives her success, as part of the new IGTV series on Instagram called AIS Reset.
The AIS Reset IGTV series was born out of the challenges athletes and those around the world are now facing, including how athletes have had to reset after the postponement of the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
In each episode of the AIS Reset IGTV series, one of Australia's leading athletes will focus on a career and life-defining moment that has forced them to 'reset' goals and describe how that experience has shaped them as a person and as an athlete.
Fitzgibbons, who recently finished equal third at the Surf Ranch Pro, details her AIS Reset moment in 2015 when she perforated her eardrum during a terrifying wipeout in the early rounds of the women's Fiji Pro at the infamous Cloudbreak.
Despite the injury badly affecting her balance and being in pain, the Kiama High School alumna covered her ear with blu-tac, wrapped her head with bandages and pushed on to take out the title.
She carried on competing that season in a helmet.
Fitzgibbons still carries a heart-shaped piece of coral as a memento of the triumph and uses it to remind her of the strength she showed to complete her goals when everything was against her.
"That was the moment when I was truly at the bottom of the barrel," Fitzgibbons said.
"Any time that you have to reset or change direction is a scary moment.
"Every time I get to a moment now, I'm like okay, I've got the ability and the choice to take one more small step forward and reset. And you've just got to keep doing it.
"To take me back to that place gives me even more strength to keep springboarding forward."
Fitzgibbons and her fellow Australian Olympic surf team members Stephanie Gilmore, Julian Wilson and Culburra Beach's Owen Wright are finalising preparations for their assault on the Tsurigasaki Beach-based competition.
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