For The Record

Issue 16 2015


Two athletes hoping for Rio 2016

Corey Ollivierre

Grenadian swimmer Corey Ollivierre is drawing inspiration from the performances of countryman Kirani James and others as he bids to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

What would it mean to you to swim for Grenada at Rio 2016?

Representing Grenada at the Olympic Games would be unbelievable and a humbling and proud moment. Being able to wear those bright colours and represent my country is a feeling that I wouldn’t want to give up that easily.

How will the Olympic Solidarity grant help you?

The Olympic Solidarity grant will assist me in qualifying for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and the prerequisite qualifying competitions. It will be used to fund travel to competitions, and to purchase necessities that will be of value to my development and improvement.

What does the funding mean for your training?

This programme will allow me to train outside of Grenada, which will be very beneficial as I will get to train in a high-performance 50m pool.

Did you always want to be a swimmer?

The truth is I’ve been swimming for as long as I can remember. I have competed in other sports but not to the same level as swimming. In school I participated in athletics, cross-country, tennis and table tennis, and then I played football with a club for some time and did a little sailing. But with the time that I put into swimming there was no real time to practise or train for those other sports.

Who is your swimming hero and why?

My swimming hero is Cameron van der Burgh from South Africa because he swims in the same events as I do. I also admire his determination to progress from being “an almost won the race”-type swimmer to becoming a world champion, Olympic champion and world record holder.

Do you draw inspiration from your Grenadian team-mates such as 400m runner Kirani James?

Being able to attend the Commonwealth Games as an actual team-mate of [athletes] Kirani James, Kurt Felix and Rondell Bartholomew was an experience that I will never forget. To see the way they represent our country at such a level is an inspiration for me, despite the fact that I compete in a different sport. Seeing what Kirani has been able to achieve as a fellow Grenadian really inspires me to work hard and aspire to fulfil my dreams.

You competed in butterfly, freestyle and breaststroke events at the 2014 World Swimming Championships. What is your best stroke?

My best stroke is breaststroke. I like the other strokes, but sadly I don’t reach the same level of performance. I put work in to all the strokes, but not quite as much as breaststroke because early on it was recognised that this was the stroke for me. Since then, as my dad says, breaststroke has been “my bread and butter” – and I love bread and butter!

Will you concentrate purely on breaststroke in the future?

I would like to enhance the level of my performance in certain other events, namely the 50m freestyle and the 50m butterfly. I specialise in breaststroke and I’m a sprinter. I am almost certain that I will always be a breaststroker.

Eva Terčelj

After finishing 13th in the K1 canoe slalom event at the London 2012 Olympic Games, Slovenia’s Eva Tercelj hopes her Olympic Solidarity scholarship will help her challenge for medals in Rio next year.

How did you get started in canoeing?

Both my brother and I were introduced to canoeing by our father, who would sit us in his lap and take us up and down the river Soca. My older brother started properly training in canoeing first and, as a younger sister, I did whatever he did, so I decided to take up canoeing as well. My parents enrolled me in a kayak school when I was 7 years old – I made new friends and we all had fun because kayaking offered us lots of different challenges.

When did you realise that you had the talent to compete at the elite level?

Even though I viewed canoeing more or less as a fun activity, I was winning consistently even at a young age. The first real confirmation for me came when I was 16 years old, when I became world junior champion. At that time, I also started to compete at senior level, and was able to improve my ranking every year. Since 2011, I have also qualified for the finals of all the major senior competitions.

What is your favourite thing about canoe slalom?

I like the fact that canoe slalom takes place outdoors, where nature’s rules prevail and you can be free. You can simply take your canoe and paddle wherever you want.

What is the most challenging aspect of your event?

The fact that the conditions are always changing – the course is never the same and the water constantly changes, meaning that you have to observe it closely and draw upon your experience. Canoeing is an unpredictable sport and I like that.

What achievements are you most proud of?

I would highlight my world junior title, which was my first major result, my World Cup race victory in 2013, and competing at the Olympic Games, which is the dream of every athlete.

What are your memories of the Olympic Games when you were younger?

The Athens 2004 Olympic Games were the first that I followed. I found them fascinating since the Games originated in Greece and returned there after so many years. All the athletes amazed me with their performances and I never thought that one day I would be part of such a competition.

What was it like to make your Olympic debut in London?

Competing at the London 2012 Olympic Games was an experience that I will remember forever. The atmosphere is one you cannot experience anywhere else.

What would it mean to you to compete at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games?

I really hope to compete at the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio. Although some of my dreams came true when I competed at the Games in London, I want to improve my result and aim as high as I can.

What are your targets for the future?

My aim is to improve the quality of my paddling, be faster and achieve greater consistency, as I want to be able to perform my best runs at the major competitions. The World Championships [in London in September] are my main goal this year.

How has your Olympic Solidarity Scholarship helped you?

I am grateful that the IOC recognised my potential and provided me with an Olympic Solidarity Scholarship. I’ve been able to use that financial assistance to provide better training conditions for myself, which is something that I cherish. With that assistance, I can train both better and harder.

© Photos accessed from Getty Images

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