Jacqui's dream turns to silver

JACQUI LAWRENCE readily admits that she had dreamt of winning a medal at the Olympics, but that dream had always ended at the podium.

Now the Old Bonalbo kayaker, who claimed second place in the K1 slalom final on Friday, is finding out just how many doors an Olympic silver medal can open for you.

Lawrence told The Northern Star yesterday that her feet had hardly touched the ground since Friday's dramatic final, which saw two highly fancied competitors falter to deliver her a podium finish.

“I'm still pinching myself,” she said.

“I might get distracted for a moment and forget about it and then come back to it and think, 'how did I do that?'

“I was just so excited to make the Australian team, then to get to the Olympics, then to make the semis, and then the final. To go one step further is more that I could have ever thought of.

“You only ever dream about winning a medal, but the dream only went as far as the podium, not beyond.”

Lawrence watched a replay of her race on television for the first time yesterday as she 'just hasn't had the time' since Friday's dramatic final.

Czech world No 1 Stepanka Hilgertova crashed out during the final and highly-ranked French competitor Emilie Fer missed a gate.

Lawrence said that she had been a 'nervous wreck' before her preliminary rounds, but gained in confidence as the competition progressed.

“I was so nervous and emotional before my first race and if someone even wished me luck I would get a tear in my eye,” she said.

“I was just so scared that I would make a fool of myself and stuff it up.”

Once she was safely in the finals and accustomed to the fearsome course, she took on a steely determination as others around her failed to cope with the conditions.

“The water in Beijing is just so big and hard that one small mistake can get blown out of all proportion,” she said.

“I guess that is what happened to some of the other girls and I just focused on my own race.”

While the silver medal is safely stowed away in its presentation box beside her bed, Lawrence has found in can be a useful companion when going out to other Olympic venues.

She wanted to watch some of the gymnastics over the weekend, but turned up to the venue without tickets or the correct accreditation. A quick wave of the silver medal and she was ushered straight through. “I had it in my pocket, just in case,” she said.

Lawrence will remain in Beijing to follow the fortunes of her boyfriend Torsten Lachmann in the C1 1000m and 500m flatwater canoeing events.

She then flies back to Australia the day after the closing ceremony on August 24 and hopes to visit Old Bonalbo soon after.

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