Sometimes, the less you know about your teammate, the better.
Australian kayakers Ken Wallace and Lachlan Tame won bronze overnight in the K2 (1000) kayaking at the Rio 2016 Olympics. They surged late into the medals in a thrilling race, but the real story here is how these two got started.
Wallace, 33, is a veteran Olympian who who gold and bronze in Beijing. He teamed up with part-time builder Lachlan Tame, 27, for the two-man event here in Rio. But Tame is an accidental Olympian.
Back in 2010, two years before the London Olympics, Tame was having beers with members of his NSW Central Coast surf club when he was pretty much dared to go to the Olympics. Someone bet him $5,000 that he couldn't make it. Tame recalled the conversation after his bronze medal in Rio.
"I clearly remember talking garbage as a group, and [when the guy made the bet] I thought 'bugger that, I'll go to the Olympics'. I thought it was going to be super easy. I've obviously realised it wasn't super easy.
It sure wasn't.
The first time Tame raced against Wallace in 2010, he was so keen to make an impression he lost his balance and fell out of the kayak.
"Yeah, I remember the first race when I fell out against Kenny. I thought 'here he is, the 2008 champ, I'm going to dust him here'." Tame recalled. "I jumped in and fell out. He doesn't know that."
"Thank god I didn't see it," Wallace laughed.
Thank god indeed, or the duo may never have teamed up in Rio. But they had the wobbles again in Rio, and this time when it really counted.
"It got a little wobbly in the last 50 or so," Wallace said of the Olympic final, in which the duo had just 0.3 of a second to spare from the fourth-placed Portuguese team.
"Very wobbly," Tame agreed. "I was just thinking 'don't fall'.
"Don't fall, don't fall," Wallace echoed.
They didn't. And now Tame is an Olympic medallist, and all because he couldn't resist a bet.
"I'm so thankful for that bet because I was dumb enough to try," he joked.
Tame said it's not clear whether the bet will be paid, but you get the sense the medal around his neck is more than sufficient compensation. Truth is, he was happy just to be here.
"Once that gun went in that first race [his heat], I thought 'for the rest of my life I'm going to be an Olympian'," he said.
"And then the first thing I said to him when we crossed the line was, 'for the the rest of your life you're going to be an Olympic medallist'," Wallace added.
Huffington Post Australia readers might recall we interviewed Ken Wallace earlier this year, and he told us he loves nothing better than mowing his lawn as a way of relaxing and de-stressing.
Well, how about this. Tame says he always mows his lawn as a superstition before he leaves home for competition. After sitting fourth for much of the race but surging late into third, you'd have to say this hilarious duo mowed down the opposition to claim bronze.Suggest a correction