When he woke up on Saturday morning, Australian C1 slalom paddler Ian Borrows feared his debut Olympic Games might have been over before they even started.
But just over 24 hours later, Borrows gave the performance of his career to tame the wind and a tough Rio Olympics course.
On Saturday morning paddling in the Olympics sounded like a horrible idea.
“I left the Opening Ceremony pretty early the night before because I wasn’t feeling very crash hot, and I spent yesterday in bed,” Borrows said.
“I was not in the best frame of mind early in the day, but I was okay after I saw the doctors. And they put me in quarantine because they didn’t want to risk me infecting anyone else.”
A day spent lying in bed watching cartoons turned out to be the perfect lead-up for Borrows. In windy conditions, the 26-year-old flourished where others floundered.
“I maybe got a bit lucky with the wind, but I was really happy with my first run,” Borrows said.
“I was very nervous in the start pool, watching the crowd and watching the guys doing their run.”
Borrows was the sixth paddler on the water in a field of 19, and was the first to record an error-free run.
For a very long time Borrows led the field, eventually recording the fifth fastest qualifying time.
He was unable to improve his standing on his second run, and will go into Tuesday’s final as ninth best qualifier.
“I didn’t have a very good World Cup series, so for me to pull out a run like that, it does worlds of good for my self belief,” Borrows said.
“We’ll see now what I can do on Tuesday.”