As the youngest member of the New Zealand Women’s K4 Sprint Kayak Team, Aimee Fisher, has a pivotal role within this impressive team. Positioned in the engine room of the boat at seat three, Aimee loves what she does on a daily basis for the team and herself as an athlete. Poised to have a long career in sprint kayaking, Rio will be an excellent opportunity for Aimee and the K4 team to triumph, inspiring more kiwi kids to believe in their dreams along the way…
When did you first want to go to the Olympics?
It was when I first started kayaking back when I was 13. I had my first National champs in Auckland and came away with a couple of National titles. I think from that moment I thought this could be my dream. I guess almost from day one I’ve been dreaming to go to the Olympics.
What does it mean to you to be an Olympian?
It means so much. As a kid growing up I was always trying to find a sport that I could be the best at. I tried netball, I tried swimming, canoe polo and then I finally found my calling in a kayak. To be selected for the Olympics in kayaking I can’t even explain what an honour it is to be racing for New Zealand at the biggest sporting event in the world. I’m just really stoked.
How do you feel as a female athlete representing NZ as a role model to young kiwi girls?
Its funny I guess I’ve never really thought about it because there are so many other female athletes that I look up to like Lisa, Val and Emma Twigg. So I think that’s pretty cool and I hope that I can inspire the next generation of female athlete coming through. That would be massive and a bonus for me personally.
Describe one of your hardest training sessions in the last 6 months
That would have to be that Jaimee and I have done many times in the K2 boat. It is 15 x 200m efforts. We do it at race pace and you probably go every 8 minutes. It’s so hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. You maybe get two or three in and you just don’t want to think about you have another 13 to go. This is by far the most horrid session that we do. It’s a satisfying feeling finishing knowing we tackle anything after that pain.
When you walk out to compete in Rio what will be the last thing you tell yourself?
I think I will probably remind myself of the kids back home (in the Hawkes Bay) that I’ve racing for. Recently I went round to my old schools and spoke to the kids there. I want to race for them. To let them know that I am just like them because I was sitting in that same school right like them. For them to dream big and don’t sell themselves short, that’s what I’m racing for. And of course I’ll be racing for the other girls in the boat.
What will you have for breakfast before you compete in Rio?
I’m a bit of a sucker for Viking food, that’s our nickname for porridge. Porridge is pretty big in Denmark and Rene our coach likes to joke that that’s what the Vikings lived on. So we recon it’s kind of like muscle food. Hopefully they’ll have it in the food hall.
Aside from life as an elite athlete what else makes you get out of bed in the morning?
I just love what I’m doing. I love waking up each morning to go to work. To try and be a better athlete. To try and go a little bit faster. To be a little tougher Each day trying to learn to push a little bit harder. The pain is terrifying for me. It’s the scary part of training. But it’s just been this progression of getting a little bit braver each day, each month kind of thing. I like that challenge. We paddle on some of the most beautiful pieces in the world. Especially when you get a good sunshine come up, you just can’t beat it. There is no office like it. So all of those things combine paddling with the girls, trying to be a better athlete. It makes it all very enjoyable.
What’s your ideal rest day?
Sunday fun-day is our day off. I don’t do a lot. I like to sleep in. Start the day off with a big breakfast. Sometime go for a walk to the beach. Hang out with my flatmates. I like being really cruisy nothing too strenuous.
If you weren’t dominating the sporting world what would you be doing?
I think I’d probably find another sport if I wasn’t a kayaker. I would go try and find something else. I don’t know rowing or cycling. There’s always education in terms of life on the other side of sport but at the moment I just want to be the best athlete I can be.
Finally, If you had the chance to acknowledge someone who has helped you get to this point in your sporting career who would it be and why?
That’s a really hard one because there are so many people that have made a contribution. You know coaches that you start off with when you are a little nipper. I think thought the people that have helped me get to where I am over the last couple of years would have to be the team at High Performance Sport New Zealand – the nutritionist, the biomechanist, strength trainer, psychologist. They don’t often get a mention. The whole entire team are just working away in the background but are so critical to this whole entire journey.
Photo credit: Aimee Fisher