SPORT

Kim Brennan Wins Rio Olympic Gold In Single Sculls

She looked up at Christ The Redeemer, and decided it was meant to be.

13/08/2016 11:36 PM AEST | Updated August 14, 2016 06:12
Carlos Barria / Reuters
Kim Brennan was all smiles after her Gold medal victory in the single sculls.

Finally, the dominant, never-in-doubt gold medal Australia has craved at the Rio 2016 Olympics, as rower Kim Brennan won the single sculls, leading from start to finish and quite simply, breaking her rivals' hearts. It's Australia's first Olympic rowing gold since 2008.

Brennan, 31, is a lawyer. She's a little more mature than some of our Rio Olympians, and is able to gather her thoughts quicker after winning a gold medal. She said some amazing things on a perfect sunny Rio morning at the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas.

You'll love her reflections on her win. Let's break them down.

First of all, she cut straight to thanking her coaches. Most athletes do that as a throwaway after the "me, me, me" bit. Not Kim.

Carlos Barria / Reuters
Dear everybody else, you rule.

"People sit at home and they see me out there in a single scull by myself, but the number of people who have gone into this effort is really huge. The amount of time that my coach has put in, you can't put it into numbers, if you actually worked out the amount of overtime he's worked in the past 11 years, he'd be an absolute billionaire by now

And then a word for her teammates, especially the men's quad crew who have helped her feel part of the gang when she's out training in the single sculls by herself.

"They have been incredible. In particular, the men's quad have really helped with my technique, it has just been a really special team to be a part of."

Then for all you rowing fans out there, she actually shared a little about her tactics. Basically it was all about breathing. Simple as that.

Reuters Photographer / Reuters
Yep, the plan worked.

"We reviewed the video from the semi final, and I realised that I really wanted to sit up and keep the beat up a little more. So that was my sole focus, to really be tall and to breathe. I was very much racing my race and it ended up working in my favour. I think when that crosswind kicked in, it makes it a lot larder for people to sprint so I just tried to stay composed and stay clean through those those closing stages.

Then she said "chuffed". Not "stoked" but chuffed. There should be more chuffed people in the world.

Reuters Photographer / Reuters
Much chuffage.

"I'm so chuffed to have a gold medal, but the message I'd send to everyone out there is the person doesn't change because of a medal. Hats off to everyone who puts a good showing of themselves out there,

She talked about mindfulness and calm.

Murad Sezer / Reuters
Unbeatable.

"One of of the dangers of a sport like ours is to have expectations of where you will or won't be, I remember last year [at the world championships] I wasn't leading through the 1000 but still felt really comfortable. [She won]. This this sport has always been about getting the most out of myself and being really calm under pressure when it matters. I was just fortunate I was able to stay clean."

Then Kimmy described how she and Christ the Redeemer had a little moment together, and Kimmy decided it was almost meant to be.

Ivan Alvarado / Reuters
Christ, this is a magnificent venue.

"Before the start of a race is actually a very tranquil place. You've got a moment with yourself just reflecting on what it is that you're about to do, and never more so than in a place like this where you've got the most incredible mountains and you look up there and there's this absolutely magnificent structure.

"It actually brought me back to the first time I came to Rio a couple of years ago. I was up at Christ the Redeemer and I had a moment up there where I looked down and visualised that moment on the start, where the Olympic final would take place. It's uncanny how similar I felt on those two occasions.

I think it was just calming. It was the reality that here I am and how bloody cool is this, I get a chance to race for an Olympic medal.

And then there was also a little Bruno Mars moment

AOL
Hi honey. Yep I'll be home soon with a gold medal. Need me to pick up anything at the store?

"I had [my husband] Scott on the phone. He said he was very proud of me. The song that they played when we were walking down to the medal dais was actually the song we did our wedding dance to. It was just one of those moments. So maybe this was meant to be.

(Note: Kim couldn't name the exact song and we didn't hear it. So here's Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars, just to funk up your morning.)

She actually thinks she's selfish for chasing her dreams, and now wants to be there, as in really be there, for those closest to her (which was a pretty strong hint of imminent retirement).

"I think you realise when you spend a lot of time away from family -- particularly this year, I was away from family for three-and-a-half months -- that it's really a kind of selfish thing to do. And I think the pressure of this race was partly because I really wanted to make it worth while.

"At the the moment I can't imagine the need to come back. I'm so excited about the other things that are in store in life, and I'd love to be a much better supporter to the people who are around me. I think it's incredibly hard on Scott in particular for me to be away so much."

And then, Kim gave an amazingly frank perspective on life as a professional sportsperson.

"It's a bit ironic that sportspeople are held up as heroes. In reality we're the lucky ones, we're living our dream, we're travelling to amazing places doing what we love, and I want to be there for my family more and be a better support for the people around me.

And she remembered a lost friend, the Olympic rowing medallist Sarah Tait, who died of breast cancer this year.

"Sarah was such an incredible human being. I don't think any race can do justice to how much she brought to the people around her. She she was so much more than a rower."

But not even calm collected Kim Brennan was immune to her classic Olympian "this hasn't sunk in yet" moment.

Murad Sezer / Reuters
It was real, Kim. It was really really real.

"We do so much visualisation and you imagine that moment so many times. Crossing the line I couldn't work out whether that was actually happening or whether it was my imagination again."

Yeah, it was real. And for the record, Genevra Stone of the USA took the silver, 1.38 seconds behind Brennan. Duan Jingli of China was third, a further second back.

This is Australia's sixth gold medal of the Games.

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