Despite hailing from hugely contrasting sports, five Tasmanian athletes told remarkably similar stories.
An elite runner, rower, cyclist, swimmer and trampoline gymnast came together as the Tasmanian Institute of Sport celebrated its past, present and future stars.
Over the course of a hectic Thursday in Hobart, Jack Hale welcomed the next crop of TIS scholarship-holders, Georgia Nesbitt and Richie Porte became the latest members of the institute's Champions Club, Jack Penny and the late basketballer Ian Davies were inducted into the sporting hall of fame all before Ariarne Titmus collected her third Tasmanian Athlete of the Year award.
Equally worthy of the state's sporting spotlight, they shared tales of overcoming the sort of Tasmanian adversity unrivalled except by anyone braving the 200 kilometres of roadworks masquerading under the name Midland Highway.
Hale set the pace as he urged scholarship recipients to "seize the opportunity, embrace the challenges and celebrate the victories" before the Commonwealth Games relay runner handed the baton over to three fellow Tasmanians who could each write lengthy chapters about challenges.
A multiple world championship representative who has watched his sport grow immeasurably, Penny gave a unique view from up high.
"Someone once told me that exercise and sport is really good for your body but elite sport is not," he said. "And certainly from my experience falling from eight metres above a trampoline and missing it definitely isn't good for your body."
He also advised those still competing to remember the whole experience of being an athlete saying he missed the boring, tedious bits and "monotonous grind of training" just as much as the competitions and results.
Penny's theme of staying grounded probably wasn't what people would have expected from a trampolinist.
Four years after narrowly missing out on Olympic qualification and eight months after a horrific cycling accident, seven-time national rowing champion Nesbitt provided plenty of perspective.
On the Olympic disappointment, she said: "I remember thinking 'You've just got to play the cards that you're dealt, George, so get on with it'."
On the crash that left her fighting for life in a coma, she added: "It's been a journey but I'm poking my head out the other side now."
And her advice for aspiring young athletes also had a distinctive rowing theme.
"Stay in your own lane and focus on your own goals."
A more familiar cyclist was a bit more blunt when asked the same question.
"I always think it's a headstart being from Tassie," Porte told a roomful of teenage Tasmanians eager to replicate his illustrious sporting career.
"People are quick to punch down Tasmanians. As a cyclist you have to ride in some pretty foul weather and at least coming from Tassie you're prepared for that. Being from Tassie we do have to work a little bit harder than everybody else first to get to the mainland and then the rest of the world. So if anybody ever tells you it's a disadvantage being from Tassie, just stick it right up 'em."
A year after retiring, Porte reflected on his 13-season WorldTour career which began when he announced himself to the cycling world by taking the lead in his first Grand Tour.
He said his chance came in a 260-kilometre stage of the Giro d'Italia contested in typically-Tasmanian weather when he joined a breakaway and was soon informed he could be race leader by the end of the stage.
"I just remember thinking 'We've got 200km to go - that's Launceston to Hobart - it's going to be a long day'," he said.
This from the same rider who visualised the closing moments of the time trial which would confirm his spot on the 2020 Tour de France podium with: "I knew I still had a few more Balfour Streets before I finished."
Admitting he always took his bearings in Tasmanian terms, the father-of-two kept coming back to his home state as he looked back on a career with as many ups and downs as any mountainous Grand Tour stage.
"I always seemed to attract my fair amount of bad luck, whether it was my fault or not, and of course you look back at results you might have got but, I tell you what, now I'm back here in Tassie, there's nothing I'd change about my career.
"My wife's from Manchester but she was the driving force to us moving back here to live. It is a fantastic place to raise children. It's just the best place on Earth."
There was a similar tone coming from Titmus who moved to Queensland to pursue her swimming dreams in 2015 but shows few signs of forgetting where she came from.
"I'm so proud of the achievements coming out of Tassie," said the 400m freestyle world and Olympic champion who began swimming with Riverside and Launceston Aquatic.
"It's such a little place but it's produced some brilliant athletes and I'm proud to be among that group doing great things.
"I feel so proud to be a Tassie girl. I still feel such a connection to the state."
Collecting the day's major award on behalf of their daughter, parents Steve and Robyn Titmus echoed the message.
"She's still an enormously proud Tasmanian and we're very proud to tell Queenslanders that," Steve said
Meanwhile, asked about the sport's highest-profile rivalry - the Borg-McEnroe 400m showdowns between Titmus and American great Katie Ledecky, Robyn reminded all present that all it really came down to was: "They're just girls having fun doing what they love."