It was a couple of days before her 20th birthday in 2006 and the then Sally McLellan was lining up for the women's 100 metres hurdles at the IAAF World Cup in Athens.
Sally was finding her way at international level - already much quicker than most athletes of her age. But quite small things still meant something to her like racing in the city that had hosted the Olympic Games just two years before.
For me what happened next was the first defining moment in her career.
One thing had been clear that year. Each time Sally ran against athletes better than her she ran with them for much longer in the race. Always quick out of the blocks being alongside them at the first hurdle was not a problem.
Staying with them was another matter. But a stunning commitment to be ever better and that fierce determination that the athletics world soon came to know ensured that she was soon in contact at the second barrier and before long the third.
In Athens, Sally finished fourth with another birthday gift coming in the time - 12.95.
It was the first time she had broken the benchmark 13-second barrier and was just two hundredths off Pam Ryan's Australian record.
It was abundantly clear that Sally accepted that she belonged. It was not the measured confident demeanour of her later career, nor even the bubbling excitement to come after Beijing two years later.
But there was an obvious message to Oceania athletics boss Yvonne Mullins and I who had the good fortune to be around that media huddle. We nodded to each other that this was an athlete well and truly on her way.
It was a good sign. While the precocious talent had been clear and there had been some successes to date there had also been disappointment and doubt.
A winner at her first international outing in 2003 at the world youth championships, Sally was then out of the medals in the hurdles a year later at the world juniors and a fall cruelled her chances at the home Commonwealth Games in Melbourne early in 2006.
In so many ways, Sally never looked back after that Athens race.
By the end of March the following year Ryan's national record was hers - only just, at 12.92. With that load off her back the times then tumbled. Two months later she was down to 12.71 after a first international circuit victory in Osaka.
Nothing was fazing her by now. As an agent you don't see all the seminal moments in an elite athlete's progress in the same way that a coach, parent or partner does, but you learn a lot about them from their reaction to what you put in front of them.
I didn't hesitate when Sally's career-long commercial manager, Robert Joske asked me in 2003 to take her on, along with another rising star, John Thornell, whom he was helping at the time.
While I was confident that I could look after Thornell, I knew I needed my career-long collaborator Maurie Plant to come on board for Sally.
After her retirement this week, Sally reminded me that we were hard task-masters early on. Having landed back in London after a couple of good results in the Czech Republic just before that Athens breakthrough, we turned her around at Heathrow and sent her down to Italy for a race two days later.
Sally was always a tough cookie - well evidenced a year later at the ISTAF meeting in Berlin not long after the 2007 world championships in Osaka where she had just missed the final.
In a compact indoor warm-up area, the more experienced athletes led by American Lolo Jones appeared to use the moment to psych-out Sally and another of their younger rivals Canadian Angela Whyte - by hogging the small number of start blocks and hurdles available.
Sally was on to Jones and just did other things in her preparation. Whyte followed suit. In the end it was the American who was on edge. Sally was fourth in her then second best time of 12.74 with Whyte just behind her. Jones was seventh.
From then, it was game on.