Change Her Game caught up with Hockeyroos' goalkeeper Rachael Lynch on the eve of her very first Olympics Games.
Ten years after your international debut, you will be competing at your first Olympics. What does it mean to you to be playing for the Hockeyroos in Rio?
I have had a wonderful journey since joining the Hockeyroos ten years ago but the Olympics has been the one missing piece of the puzzle. I am very proud of my achievements and love every opportunity I get to represent Australia so this will be one more chance to wear the green and gold with my team mates and hopefully show the world what the Hockeyroos are about.
The Hockeyroos have a proud Olympic history, which former/current Hockeyroos have influenced your career the most?
Rachel Imison was the Australian goalkeeper when I first came through. She was an idol of mine and I was very lucky to play for both Victoria and Australia alongside her for a few years. She was someone I really admired not just for her hockey ability but the balance and commitment she showed to all other areas of her life including her work and studies.
When did you first take up hockey and did you play other sports as a junior?
I started hockey in 1998 when I was 12. I played many different sports but was selected in the primary school state team for hockey as a goalkeeper so I went and joined a club. Basketball was my main sport at the time and I still love playing it to this day.
Did you start out as a goalkeeper?
I trailed for the state team as a goalkeeper and a field player, having never player either before. They selected me as a goalkeeper so I stuck with it. I always played on the field for school and still keep a mouth guard in my goalkeeper bag just in case I get the call up one day! I'd love one day to score a goal for Australia.
What are the particular strengths/attributes that are needed to be a goalkeeper at international level?
The key attributes are - a high level of athleticism, excellent basic skills across all areas, communication and a fierce determination.
What has the build up for Rio been like?
Our Rio team was announced only a few weeks before departure so we have been training together as a group all year in preparation. We competed in various tournaments and lead-up games and are now currently in Santiago Chile for our final week of training before the Olympics. There were plenty of nerves before selection as we all knew ten people were going to miss out. The beauty of a squad is that we push each other right till the end.
With 12 Olympic debutants, how do you think the squad is shaping up for the Olympic tournament?
The team is in a really good place. Although 12 will be debuting we have a lot of experience internationally so don't need to be worried about this. We know we can beat all the top teams when we play at our best so for us it's about going in confident and just playing according to our brand.
Which newcomers should we keep our eye on?
Grace Stewart is a very talented young striker who has only been in our team since the start of this year. She is gutsy and determined and certainly knows where the goal is.
And finally, what’s the best way for everyone back in Australia to show their support while the team is competing at the Games?
We always have fantastic support from home so any messages via social media or the Australian Olympic website are appreciated. And cheer loudly while watching us in your lounge rooms!
Rachael Lynch on social media:
*Photo: Getty Images Europe