DUAL OLYMPIAN GUN ALY BULL
Fresh from 14 days quarantine after a successful Tokyo 2020 Olympic campaign – We sit down with Alyssa Bull to reflect on the Games, what keeps her motivated and her plans for the KNG Series.
How would you describe your Tokyo 2020 Olympic experience?
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics was like no other. I felt so grateful to be able to finally race internationally again as well on the biggest stage. Although the stands were empty, I’ve never felt such a huge support from everyone back home.
What was your Olympic highlight?
The highlight for me would have to be producing to PB times in our K2 500m race on the finals day in the Semi and in the Final. To finish 5th with the 5th fastest time ever recorded in an Olympic Games is something we are so proud of.
How much of a break did you have post Olympics and how did you keep yourself mentally and physically stimulated during this time?
I had about 6 weeks out of the kayak by the time we finished racing and quarantine. I find I’m not good at taking physical breaks as sitting still doesn’t work well for me. When I got home from the Games my partner, Cody and I had a quick camping trip planned out West with our dog Otis and that was an awesome way to just switch off from what was such a long cycle. I was back to work straight after our camp trip so I had to quickly find a routine again. I love surfing and trail walking so to be able to do those things on the weekends without the pressure of turning up on Monday morning for a key session is so nice to have for a while. Being a firey is quiet physical so at work on day shift, in the afternoons we try and get a team workout done in between jobs. So physically I never really stop but it is important for me mentally to be able to do the fitness things in a fun way that we don’t always get to do being in a kayak everyday.
How has your training changed since Tokyo? And have your new goals changed the way you prepare?
At the moment I like to say I have been training ‘casually’. I like to have variety in training during the time after the Games as this cycle was quite long. I’m training in the gym to keep strength and I’m doing a fair bit of fun stuff in the surf.
What are your athletic goals for the next 12 months?
The next 12 months are going to be a bit different for me at this stage. I want to come back for an iron race or 2 and be able to race in the surf a bit more freely. I do want to be back in the kayak as Paris is definitely the next major goal for me. At this stage we are unsure of what any international travel might look like in terms of being able to race at World Cups and then World Championships.
Are you going to make a run at qualifying for the KNG Iron Series this year?
I would love to be able to have a go at the KNG Iron Series again. I’m not 100% sure what the kayak program looks like in the new year but I am definitely giving it some thought.
What motivated/inspired you as a young athlete?
As a young athlete I was inspired by the people around me training every day. I did lot of training with my brother and the boys at my surf club and I just wanted to keep up and be as fast as them. I have always had a drive to just work hard and I really wanted to be able to represent Australia at the highest level. And nowadays it hasn’t changed. I’m inspired by Alyce, my K2 partner every day at training to try and be as fast as she is and the fun way we go about training maintains that motivation to wake up and get after it every day.
How do you balance being a Fire Fighter and athlete?
It is quite the balancing act and I wouldn’t be able to do it without the team I have. I do 2x10hr day shifts and 2x14hr night shifts followed by 4 days off before starting again. I have some early starts, some late starts and my Sundays aren’t always a rest day anymore. I’ve been so lucky to have Alyce as a K2 partner in that she has been so flexible to train later with me after night shift or even early in the arvo pre night shift. It is a challenge at times to get up at 3:30 and train on the water by 4:30 before work on my day shifts, it’s better in summer as the sun comes up and sometimes my coach Anna would be there too. I’m a big believer in that fact that you do things better when you really love and enjoy what you do. I love being an athlete and I love being a Firey and when I can do both I’m at my happiest.
What motivates you?
I’m motivated by just striving to be better than I was yesterday. In all aspects of my life. Being part of a team is what I thrive for, so I want to be the best I can be to bring value to my team.