NZ’s Most Successful Olympian Reveals Her Next Move…
Dame Lisa Carrington is pure power. Often called the Usain Bolt of kayaking, on the water she is known for being able to tap into her incredible strength, balance and focus to beat her opponents.
Last year, Carrington became New Zealand’s most successful Olympian when she won three gold medals at the Tokyo Olympics — in the K1 200m, K1 500m and K2 500m (with Caitlin Regal). The haul increased her Olympic tally to a staggering six medals (five gold and one bronze).
In this year’s New Year Honours, Carrington received a damehood for her services to canoe racing, and in February she was named sportswoman of the year and won the supreme award at the Halberg Awards.
Personally, Carrington has also been flying high. In March she married her long-time partner Michael Buck in a beachside ceremony in Ōhope. Sharing the news on social media, Carrington described it as the “best day ever”.
So what’s next for Carrington, who at 32 has achieved more than most of us do in a lifetime. We sat down with her to find out how she’s adapted to life after the Olympics, next goals and her passions off the water.
How has your return home since the Olympics been?
It’s been busy. After returning from Tokyo I left MIQ and stepped straight into Auckland’s lockdown but that time at home saw my husband and I get our place ready to put on the market. We moved into our new home a couple of months ago and it’s been enjoyable getting set up. We also got married in March which was amazing.
How do you return to normal life after becoming NZ’s greatest Olympian?
We’ve had so many things to keep us busy – slotting back into daily life hasn’t been hard at all. It was so great to get back to Ōhope over summer once the Auckland border reopened – I missed it so much.
Congratulations on your marriage! How has married life been so far?
Wonderful, thanks. We’re hoping to honeymoon later this year.
Highlights of your career to-date?
There have been so many, all of them special for different reasons. My Olympic campaigns are obviously up there. I’m very lucky to have such a brilliant team – sharing the wins with them makes the journey even more meaningful.
What do you love about kayaking?
The fact you can always get better at it. I try to improve in some way, shape or form each day. Also I love getting out on the water, so being able to enjoy that everyday is special.
What personal and professional goals are you now focusing on?
I’m looking ahead to Paris 2024; training to qualify and getting better is now in full swing.
You’re an inspiration to young girls — what message do you most hope to give them?
It’s important to find ways to enjoy what you are doing. The work won’t always be easy – if our goals are big then there will be hard work that goes in. Making that hard work enjoyable is vital.
Who inspires you and why?
That’s a tough one to answer – there are so many amazing people I draw inspiration from for different reasons.
What’s something the public doesn’t know about you that might surprise them?
I’m a real foodie. Food is definitely a passion point.
If you hadn’t become a professional sportsperson, what would you have done?
I’m currently studying for a Masters in Psychology.