Tim Anderson was once so scared to paddle down a tiny rapid on the Yarra River and now he’s an Olympian after being handed his ticket to his first Games in Paris.
Paddling duo Anderson and Tristan Carter have been picked to wear the green and gold to contest the men’s K1 and C1 events respectively in Paris with both making their Olympic debuts.
Their selection was confirmed on Tuesday and 29-year-old Anderson, who moved to Penrith from Victoria aged 18 to pursue his slalom passion, said he’d come a long way from those scratchy early days on the water.
“I’ve worked so hard for this for more than a decade, it’s really exciting to see that all paying off,” Anderson said.
“I remember one of the first times I got in a kayak, nearly 20 years ago, I was paddling backwards at the top of this tiny rapid on the Yarra because I was too scared to go down, a few tears were shed. To think I’m now going to an Olympics is pretty incredible.
“Thank you to everyone who has played a part in my journey – there’s so many out there. My family, friends, and girlfriend are the biggest part of that, I hope they can feel as proud as I am to represent Australia at the Olympics.”
Carter, 25, said it was the people around him who had helped him achieve his Olympic dream.
“It’s so special. My family, my sister, mum and dad have been my biggest sponsors through my junior years and now they’re my biggest cheer squad, with my girlfriend,” Carter said.
“I wouldn’t be in the position I am now without the training group here at Penrith. Even though we’re competing against each other, we wouldn’t be where we are without them, pushing in training, lifting the standards.
“I’m very proud of where I came from in Victoria, my old coach Warwick Draper who is a three-time Olympian himself, all the people I trained with in Melbourne – a huge system of people that have come together and made me feel like I’m ready to tackle the biggest stage.”
Carter also said overcoming the weight of pressure at the events used as selection trials earlier this year gives him great confidence ahead of Paris.
“I had a few new emotions pre-race at the trials, knowing the magnitude of the situation, I was very aware of it. The run I laid down was 101 seconds, but it was eight years’ work. It felt amazing to cross the finish line and know that I’ve done it,” he said.
“I pride myself on being very focused within myself. Having to deliver in the final runs of races, to do it again with an Olympics on the line, shows what I’ve got within me.”
They join paddling superstar and Olympic gold medallist Jess Fox in the team with more spots in the new Olympic event of Kayak Cross on offer at the Kayak Cross Global Qualifying Tournament in Prague in June.