Ferenc Szekszardi admits to shedding a tear or two on his way to the start line for his Olympic debut in the C1 200 on Wednesday.
It was a morning wracked with emotion for the 36-year-old from Perth, which started just before he woke up.
“I have to admit solid dreams about the Games, and I actually dreamed that I missed my start,” Szekszardi said.
“It was terrifying, and I just woke up before my alarm. I was really filled with mixed emotions before the race, I even shed a few tears.”
Szekszardi finished sixth in his C1 heat and didn’t advance to the semi-finals, but that’s unlikely to dampen his Olympic memories.
“It was really incredible. I don’t normally get nervous before I compete, and I’ve just been soaking up the Olympic vibe in the past few days,” he said.
“I was super-pumped, fulfilling a childhood dream of mine lining up here at the Olympics. Even though I didn’t get the amount of work done in the past ten years that these boys have done, I’m still super thrilled.
“I’ll always want for better, but it is what it is, and it’s a super unique and excellent experience.”
Szekszardi will line up with fellow veteran, Martin Marinov, in the C2 1000 on Friday, their main event in Rio.
He said now that he’s got the first race out of the way, his focus will be entirely on a big performance in the C2.
“I was listening to Shannon Noll’s ‘Shine’ to inspire me, looking up at Christ the Redeemer, I wanted to savour every minute I could jam in before I started,” he said.