New Zealand medal hopeful Eliza McCartney says she has an “extra energy” ahead of her Olympic debut next Wednesday morning (NZT).
The pole vaulter has a few days to wait before she competes, but says the adrenaline is already pumping through her veins as she awaits her first vault at the Olympic Stadium.
And though many back in New Zealand are expecting her to earn a medal for her country, she says she doesn’t feel the weight of a nation on her shoulders.
“It’s really nice that there is so much support from New Zealand – I’m just overwhelmed all the time with how much everybody is watching,” she told Newshub Olympic reporter Melissa Davies.
“It’s really lovely to see but you’ve kind of got to block it out a little bit sometimes – almost not care, which sounds a little bit funny – but you’ve just got to focus on what you’re doing.
“If you worry so much about everybody’s expectations, it can weigh down on you – so I’m grateful for all the support but at the same time I’m not caring about what other expectations there are out there.”
However it’s not just heightened expectations she has to be wary of – it’s walking out in front of thousands of viewers and the significance of the occasion.
“It is something you’ve got to prepare for but at the same time it’s a whole new situation – so I think what I’m going to really focus on is enjoying the situation,” she said.
“But at the same time I need to be focused and thinking about what I need to do – not trying to just block it all out – and hopefully it will work out well.”
McCartney faces here first qualifying round on Wednesday morning at 12:45am (NZT).