Some children acquire confidence as they grow older, but every so often someone graces the sporting arena oozing with natural surety.
You can certainly put alpine ski racer Piera Hudson, of Tikokino, in that category.
Her programme co-ordinator in Wanaka, Grant Winsloe, attests to that. "Well, this kid has it in spades already.
"Piera has shown strong determination and confidence for someone so young and that's a big factor in her success," Winsloe told SportToday before the 13-year-old Woodford House pupil scooped the 2009 CHB Mail Premier Sportsperson of the Year award at the AW Parsons Stadium, Waipukurau, last night.
Guest speaker Steve Gurney also entertained the audience with a slide show of his Sahara desert trip.
Winsloe, who with Swiss-Italian coach Adi Bernasconi owns World Ski Connection, which is responsible for Hudson's training in Wanaka and Switzerland, said she had a great future in snowsport.
"If she keeps going in the manner she has been then there's no doubt she'll represent her country at the highest level," he said of the teenager who has wowed many with her prowess and steely resolve on the powdery slopes of skifields around the world with her mother, Fiona, in tow.
Both Fiona and dad John were at the awards ceremony last night.
The daughter of proud livestock farmers who returned to school in October to find snow-capped mountains towering over the family property, Hudson hopes to fly the New Zealand flag during the 2014 Schi Winter Olympics in Russia, when she'll be 18 years old.
As a first-year K2 skier, the third-former stamped her supremacy as the fastest under-15 female skier in the country. In the process, she collected 12 gold medals, accrued the most national points in super G, giant slalom and slalom disciplines and clinched the sought-after Otago Daily Times Interfield six-race series.
She's now provisionally selected for the New Zealand Junior team as the top seed to compete in Slovenia, Italy and Canada from January.
In August, she was the recipient of the Hawke's Bay AMP regional award for outstanding ski racing here and overseas, and also won the Snow Vision McKenzie Foundation scholarship.
The awards are a testimony to her eight-hour, five-day-a-week training regimen at the Cardrona High Performance Centre, in Wanaka, for three months before attending evening academic lessons.
Winsloe said: "The scariest thing is that (alpine ski racing) is not like all the other sports. Piera is training for a whole day and it's not like rugby where you work out for an hour or so.
"She's out on the hills all day then comes back and spends more time in the gym at night."
Hudson's on-snow coach is Mike Jactchy, a Scottish Pole.
Because skiing is a minority sport in this country, Winsloe said securing funding was "extremely hard" for Hudson's dedicated family, especially as they lived in sunny Hawke's Bay.
"I wouldn't like to add up what it costs them each year."
Earlier last night, Hudson collected the Young Female Sportsperson of the Year award for the second consecutive year and last week won the Female Sportsperson of the Year award at the Hawke's Bay Secondary Schools Sports Awards.
Hudson finished sixth in a field of 100 at the K1 world North American internationals. She is the national Slalom K2 champion, giant slalom K2 champion and Super G champion - the first Kiwi junior (male or female) to have won all three disciplines in the same year.
Along the way, Hudson has collected fractured knees, a broken arm and a fractured tailbone - sacrifices she is prepared to make in her quest to represent New Zealand at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
It brought back memories for Winsloe when Hudson was 11 years old.
"Once she had a sore arm and, as normal procedure, you would normally have a week off to recover. But not Piera - she had races in about four days so she trained through sheer determination and performed extremely well.
"Most other children would have packed up, gone home and sat in front of the TV."