There is very little written about the elite athletes that strive for a goal and don’t make it. In many cases, these athletes trained alongside and can beat the Olympians you will see on TV. Athletes that experienced the tears and joys of chasing a dream of the Olympic Games. Reaching the top 00.1% of the worlds athletes and yet they will be watching from home.
This was me in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. I never physically made it, however I do believe that I did contribute to another athletes amazing journey to the Games.
In 2007, my best friend Erin had a car accident whilst playing for Victoria at a National Carnival. I’m not sure if playing badminton again for Australia was what she wanted. Erin was a singles player and playing singles is a very mentally tough, individual game. She struggled for motivation to get back on the court.
The opportunity arose for the two of us to play in a teams event tournament, like the Fed Cup in Tennis. We were called to play both singles and doubles. Erin and I teamed up as partners for the first time, and our opposites were our strengths. Erin was short and I was tall, she had the brains and I had the muscle. As a new combination we had great chemistry. We had nothing to lose and everything to gain as there were no expectations.
We played well and had discussed that we still could have a chance for Olympic Qualification for Beijing 2008 in the Ladies Doubles. Fellow Aussies already had their sights on Beijing but we also had the current form and ambition. When we returned home from the tournament, we made a big decision to put all the money and effort we had into trying to qualify for the Games. Within days, our flights were booked. We were travelling to 7 countries to compete in 7 tournaments over a period of 7 weeks. CRAZY
Erin and I were both singles players at heart so we still entered every tournament in singles as well as doubles. This was for a bit of fun and extra match practice whilst we were away. It was different for us playing doubles but because we were best friends it wasn't so bad either! We trained together, and then checked out the sights of each country. We played our matches and win or lose we remained besties, packed up and moved onto the next country together. Our Olympic chances came to a stop around week 4 when we realised we were not going to be able to accumulate enough Olympic ranking points to qualify. This really, really sucked but again we had each other. So as all best friends would do, we went and got drunk, very drunk. As athletes drinking for us didn't happen very often so it was fair to say we had a tad of memory loss! We spent the next few weeks having fun with our remaining games, making memories we will never forget and just enjoying each others company.
We returned home after learning so much about ourselves and about our sport. When we got home, we found out that Erin had qualified for singles. Not just through playing whilst we were away, but from all her hard work before the car accident.
10 months after thoughts giving up, Erin was suiting up in the green and gold and opened the Aussies to be the first event of the Beijing Olympics 2008.
So I may have had a dream to be an Olympian and I may be one of those athletes that never made it, but my destiny is to help people and make people happy. I know I helped Erin achieve her dreams. I strive to do this everyday. I look back on my dream and this time in my life and have no regrets. What I was a part of will forever make me happy.