Sydney: One stray gust of wind, one stumble in the blocks, one dropped baton.
Even if she says injury-free, any number of potential hazards lie between Marion Jones and her goal of five Olympic golds at the Sydney Games opening on Friday.
Jones will contend with the capricious spring winds at Stadium Australia in the long jump, the American sprinter's weakest event.
She is an uncertain starter and was almost beaten over 100 metres in Zurich last month. Then there are the two relays and the nightmare of a botched exchange.
Though the path will be perilous, the rewards are incalculable in the first Games of the new millennium.
"Given her age and the platform she will have, Marion has the opportunity to transcend sports and become an international icon," says US athletics chief Craig Masback.
"There have been only three athletes who have done that: Pele, Muhammad Ali and Michael Jordan. She's the only one who has that chance.
"No one said to her 'you've got to predict you're going to win five gold medals'. But that's what champions do."
Some would argue that Tiger Woods has already preceded Jones to the lofty heights occupied by Masback's trinity but, win or lose, Jones is the story of the Games.
Jones embraces pressure
In a calculated leak to startled American track and field writers two years ago, Jones's manager revealed she was aiming to go one better than Jesse Owens, Carl Lewis and Fanny Blankers-Koen and win five golds.
At one stroke, Jones deliberately embraced the relentless pressure which will grow between the opening of the Games on Friday and the 100 metres heats a week later. Her daunting schedule will then embrace three further rounds in the 100, four in the 200, the long jump qualifying and final and the 4x100 and 4x400 relay finals on the penultimate day of the Games.
"Definitely there were butterflies in my stomach looking out the window and seeing Australia," Jones said on arrival in Australia on Tuesday. "I just want to get it all started now."
While Jones's battle against her opponents, herself and the elements will form the backdrop of the athletics programme the projected women's 400 metres final between Cathy Freeman and the Jose-Marie Perec is likely to be the race of the Games.
Freeman, an Australian Aborigine, is under as much pressure as Jones. Losing to the enigmatic French defending champion by even a fraction of a second will be viewed as failure by a sell-out crowd of 110,000.
If he is in anything like his best form Michael Johnson will be running against the clock only in the men's 400 metres in his final Olympics. If any athlete can counter the winds it is Johnson who could sign out in style by becoming the first person to break the 43-second barrier.