Rio Olympics: Walshy's Sevens diary

Olympic Womens
by Tim Walsh

The Olympics are just five days away and there’s no time for emotion.

Once we arrived in Portobello for our final training camp before the Rio tournament, professionalism and a business-like approach took over.

The last three years has been made up of thousands of hours of training and the 14 women who have made it to Brazil know this is just the start.

Twelve will compete in Brazil and they all embody the philosophy we have instilled in the team – we are not here just to participate, we want to win.

Every time those players put on the Australian jersey they shoulder a huge responsibility in representing their country and the ruthless identity of the Aussie 7s – an identity that helped us to a World Series title.

Preparation is done down to the most minutiae of detail but we always have to be prepared for a left-field change.

The Olympics has already thrown that up for us, with the state of the Olympic Village forcing us to head straight to Portobello rather than acclimatise in Rio for the first two days.

That’s all part of Sevens, though, and years of travelling the globe for World Series events has equipped the team for these changes.

There are plenty of things we won’t be able to predict but one thing we have already learned to temper is the ‘favourites’ tag that has been bestowed upon us.

As the incumbent World Series champions it’s hard to avoid the talk that we are one of the top gold medal chances.

We are incredibly proud of the fact that we have made it to Brazil as the world number one team, but it has only come because of the effort of the years that have come before this.

Favouritism, particularly in Australia, is often viewed as a negative label to have, with everyone keen to pass on top billing to their opponents and take the spotlight off themselves.

For us, whether we’re favourites or outsiders is irrelevant, what is most crucial is that we follow our Olympic plan set out over the last three years.

We are prepared, we will play fearless rugby, we will have fun, and I know no matter what happens this team will leave Rio with no regrets irrespective of final standings.

There are so many people who have helped our team come this far and to see the groundswell of support we have received in the past few months has been incredibly humbling.

The greatest measure of success will be making all of you proud in the most important three days of Sevens ever.

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