Ready in Rio: Sam Kerr and Mackenzie Arnold


In just a handful of days, forward Sam Kerr and keeper Mackenzie Arnold will be able to truly call themselves Olympians.

With the team having been in Rio for a number of weeks already, it’s been an incredible atmosphere for the team to ruminate on that fact as preparations for their gold medal run continue. For Kerr “everyone dreams of being an Olympian, so the fact that it’s only five days away is a little bit surreal.”

Perhaps no one is more grateful for the honour than Kerr, with a ruptured ligament in her foot that sidelined her from the 2015-16 W-League Season and ruled her out for the AFC Olympic Qualifiers.

Down to the wire her place on the roster to Rio was unknown. That didn’t stop her hard work, and now with their first match only days away it’s all paying off.

“It was a bit of a late rush, left it to the last minute” she admits.

“But I’m feeling good now, foot’s good, body’s feeling good. I feel like my fitness has jumped the past few weeks and I’m ready for the tournament to start.”

Looking ahead to the Olympic Tournament, and with their opening game against Canada, both Kerr and Arnold speak on the strength, fitness and speed of the Canadian side.

Kerr noting that “they’re more of a counterattack team, rather than a football team, but we’re focusing on ourselves and are confident we can get the result we want.”

Part of that includes knowing strengths and for Australia one of those is undoubtedly the speed they bring both up top and from their defence “We’ve got a lot of pace up top and I think it’s no secret, the whole world knows it.”

From Arnold, another strength is in the preparation the team had taken “We’ve been in Brazil a month, but we’ve been in camps for nearly half a year now. And although Brazil is a different environment, we’re more than ready to go.”

Arnold speaks to everyone being confident in their abilities, and how for her it’s been fellow keeper, Lydia Williams who has played such an important role.

“I’ve looked up to Lydia since I was 17 years old. I remember my first Australian camp she was in there with me, so having Lydia there as nearly a mentor to me means a lot. To even experience these Olympic Games with her is more than I could ask for” Arnold said.

This is a young team, many of them are first time Olympians, but for Arnold what’s important is the confidence they have in their own abilities, as well as the confidence that they have in each other “We have strong confidence in each other to get as far as we can and hopefully that’s a gold.”

Australia plays their opening game against Canada in São Paulo, Thursday August 4, 4am AEST