On the eve of the biggest canoe sprint race of her life, Alyce Burnett is surprisingly relaxed.
In less than 24 hours she will team up with good friend Alyssa Bull to make their Olympic debut in the K2 500.
“Actually I’m not that nervous,” Burnett said on race eve.
“I guess because we’re staying out of the hype of it we haven’t got caught up in it all.
“But I’m sure the nerves will come though.”
Although those who have been around Burnett and Bull during their short canoe sprint careers know they aren’t the type to get flustered.
In fact it was their laid back attitude which saw them throw caution to the wind to lock up their Olympic qualification, knocking out the much more fancied World Championship combination of Naomi Flood and Jo Brigden-Jones in the process.
It’s been a steep learning curve, but every time they’ve jumped on the water in the past two years they’ve gone faster.
“We’ve always been the types to push ourselves no matter what’s at stake, whether it’s a National Championships or an Olympic Games, so the last few months have been no different,” Burnett said.
“Over the last few years Rio has obviously been the major goal, but after the girls’ squad only qualified three spots for Rio the odds were stacked against us.
“Coming into this season Alyssa and I did everything we could to make sure we put our best race forward, but tried to ensure we had a life outside of sport as well in case we didn’t quite get there.”
Thankfully for Bull and Burnett plan B was not required, and on Monday night, Australian time, they get to make their Olympic debuts.
Also racing on the opening day of the canoe sprint program will be K4 1000 gold medallist, Murray Stewart, competing in the K1 1000 in Rio, while four-time Olympian and team veteran, Martin Marinov, will kick the program off in the opening race of the day, the heats of the C1 1000.