In a conversation with Laura Pierre, it is not unusual to hear the word "passion" several times, particularly if the exchange is about sport.
Forty years after competing as Trinidad and Tobago's first female Olympian, it is clear that Pierre still has a big passion for young athletes and her favourite sport of track and field.
T&T today can boast of many female sport stars since then; honoured on Thursday among T&T's "50 Greatest Sports Legends, 1962-2012" were the likes of badminton great Dr Debra O'Connor, cricket coach and administrator Ann Browne-John; late boxer Giselle Salandy, who died tragically at age 21 holding eight World titles; T&T's 1979 netball team which included the late, great Jean Pierre; and hockey greats Stacy Siu Butt and Sandra Charles-Montano, who stamped the word excellent on every hockey pitch they played on for T&T.
Throwers Cleopatra Borel (shot put) and Candice Scott (hammer throw), swimmers Cerian Gibbs, Siobhan Cropper and Sharntelle McLean, sprinters Fana Ashby, Kelly-Ann Baptiste and hurdler Joseanne Lucas; if time and space permitted, there are many more names that could grace the pages of Express Woman.
But save for Charles-Montano, who began her sporting career in the 1960s, they all followed the trail of an unassuming young Pierre, who at 16 competed at the Munich 1972 Olympics in Germany, suiting up in the 200-metre event, where she reached as far as the quarter-finals.
Calm and well-spoken manner, Pierre described it as the "highlight" of her life.
"It was not something that I thought that I was going to…my passion for running was going to take me to that level," a beaming Pierre recalled in an interview with Express Woman on Tuesday. "But being a young person I persevered towards that goal, which ended up with me being selected on the 1972 Olympic team."
The magnitude of her achievement had not yet sunk in even as she boarded the plane to Germany for a 22-hour flight. But her arrival at the Olympic Village did signal to Pierre that it was no ordinary meet.
"Entering the village, [I thought] 'wow, where am I? What am I doing here?' [I had] lots of questions. But then again I sat back and put the pieces together, and I realised that this is the highlight of my life. With that reflection, I saw a different side to track and field, a different side to how people lived."
A pensive Pierre summed up her initial experience at the Games as "scary and leery", being the only female on the T&T team, and with no chaperone. But her rude awakening was yet to come with the infamous "Munich massacre" in which nine Israeli athletes and officials were kidnapped by Palestinian terrorists and all eventually executed. During the ordeal, the Games were stopped for 24 hours.
The high level of Olympic competition also proved an eye opener for Pierre.
"That's what made me realise you don't just take an athlete for granted. You have to set your mind, put it as a mindset that you can be beaten at any time, particularly in track and field."
They were lessons the Arima-born athlete took with her when she took up an athletic scholarship two years later at Washington State University, and pursued an undergraduate degree in Physical Education, Sports and Leisure.
Pierre, who later completed two Masters degrees (Organisational Systems Renewal/Consultant and Educational Leadership), has helped to develop athletic programmes in the US prisons system, and the various communities in which she has lived, and has also coached avidly.
Earlier this year, Pierre began to make the transition to return home to T&T. She has not lost that passion for T&T sport, and is keen to give back by volunteering her time to help local communities and young athletes. She has started with her old track club, Abilene Wildcats.
Pierre is glad to see some changes in women's sport since her days as an athlete, but says athletes need much more "support" to perform consistently on the world stage.
"[As a young athlete] all amenities came from my parents. No one gave me anything, saying 'here's a pair of shoes, here's money for travelling'. I didn't get any of that. So you know it was really tough."
Some young local-based female athletes today are still lacking the opportunities to compete at big meets like the Penn relays and other events, Pierre said, exposure that is crucial in their development.
Asked how she felt about being a trailblazer for women's sport, Pierre paused, with eyes twinkling and a broad smile, almost taken aback by the question.
"I've never been asked that question before," she said reflectively, and repeatedly, before continuing. "I really didn't see myself as a trailblazer. All I knew is that I had a passion for what I did. I think because of my passion, it laid the foundation for me.
"It's good to be the first; it's good to be the leader. But if your story is not told, no one will know how hard it was to be that person."
Overall, a proud Pierre has seen advancement in women's sport in T&T, and is hoping she can contribute further.
"The bar has risen [for T&T sportswomen]," she stated emphatically. "But I know it can rise a lot higher, and that comes with lots of support. I believe in equal rights and knowledge, and with a combination of that we can really raise the bar to the highest level."