By Olympian Luuka Jones
It’s been a blur and I feel in a bit of a daze. At the Closing Ceremony I was a spectator to the most amazing music concert I will probably ever attend in my life.
We screamed with excitement at the Spice Girls, Jessie J, and Annie Lennox, sang along with Monty Python and Queen, stood in awe of the Royal Ballet and finished the evening dancing with Rio.
The athletes celebrated a remarkable Olympics with the world, and London gave a show not many will forget. I floated out of that stadium on a high, spirits peaking and claimed that it was the best night of my life.
What hype, and what a fantastic Games. The success of the New Zealand team, London’s hospitality, the atmosphere at all of the events, tremendous amounts of support here and back home have made it an exhilarating event.
It has also been the sole focus of the last six years of training and now, very suddenly it is all over and things are back to normal.
The post-Games depression affects some athletes more than others. It’s the point in which some end their careers in sport whilst others look ahead to another four years of gruelling training to get here again.
The emotions of disappointment and success are still lurking and there is a lot of the future to consider. This has been the pinnacle focus for such a long time and all effort was expended during the journey and competition.
Inhaling all that the Olympics is, and was, there is always the question of ‘where to now?’ Most will take a break to allow the mind to recover and reflect on the performances at more of a distance when the emotions are calm and regain focus on the task of getting better, faster, stronger.
I’m glad to be back in New Zealand after four months away. I am eager to keep paddling, motivated even more by the successes of our Olympic Champions but will take a few weeks to catch my breath before starting again.
This break provides opportunity to spend quality time with my immensely supportive family and friends who I cannot thank enough. The study books will be peeled open and I will balance my focus with other activities until I am back on the river with a paddle in my hand. Rio is only four years away and if it is anything like these Games it will come around extremely quickly.