THE ROAD TO TOKYO - Amy Lawton
We sat down and had a Q&A with our very own Amy Lawton to get a look into her world and what her Olympics selection means.
Firstly, where were you when you found out you were going to Tokyo?
I was staying at a hotel that my mum had originally booked for us to be together in to receive the news…unfortunately she couldn’t be there because of the situation with COVID in Victoria, but I still went and stayed there with my best friend for a few nights when I received the news!
Who were the first people you told when you found out?
As soon as I opened the email and saw my name I called my family. My sister had been excused from class for 10 mins so that she could meet mum and dad out the front of school and hear from me all together. As soon as I called them I was smiling from ear to ear. This caused them to burst into tears because they knew it meant I had made the team!
What were you feeling when you found out the news?
Initially I think I almost had a sense of relief because of the huge increase in tension and pressure leading up to the selection, but as soon as I called my family and told my best friend it was pure excitement. I remember thinking oh my gosh, I am going to be an Olympian and I am going to play at an Olympic Games, this is so cool, crazy, amazing and honorable all at the same time.
What does the next month or so look like for you leading up to Tokyo?
The next month is going to be pretty busy. We are play New Zealand for Pro League games, then have a week of training and intra-squad games with VAA (Visiting Athlete Agreement) athletes, who are selected interstate players in development and junior squads. After that we head over to Darwin for a week to acclimatize before we fly to Japan!
What match-up are you most looking forward to at the Olympics? Player and/or country? Why?
I am looking forward to playing against the Argentinians and Dutch because they are both very strong teams that work really well as a team and as individuals. I haven’t had the opportunity to play the Dutch before and have only played in one game against Argentina, so I think that these two teams, which are both very very good and ranked highly, will be the most exciting ones!
How do you feel about the Olympics being behind closed doors?
I think it will be a very different experience, but still a spectacle for the world. The Olympics can hopefully be something that people can watch on their TV’s at home, and look forward to watching, remaining hopeful that COVID won’t be around for the next games! One thing that I do think will be very weird though is that people watching in the crowds won’t be able to cheer, but only clap. Just imagine someone scoring a crazy good goal and all the crowd is able to do is clap…seems pretty funny to me.
Other than the hockey, what are you looking forward to most about the Olympics?
I think I am looking forward to the village experience, although I went to the Youth Olympics in 2018 and got to experience this, I believe Tokyo will be a completely different environment because of COVID. Although this is the case, Japan is a very technologically advanced country, so I am sure there will be lots of interesting things within the village to see and do whilst remaining compliant with social distancing rules etc.
Was going to the Olympics always the ‘ultimate’ goal for you in your career?
It was definitely always a long-term goal of mine, and something I had wanted to do since I was a kid. I think the next part of this journey is to come home with a medal too! That would really just be the cherry on top!!
You’ve achieved this at only 19 years old, what are you striving for after this?
I am definitely hoping to compete in a few more International Series such as Olympics, World Cups and Commonwealth Games, but I also want to just keep enjoying playing! I love the girls and the environment we get to spend each day in, and I think that’s the most important thing. If I am enjoying it, staying fit and healthy with people I like spending time with, then it’s something I want to keep doing…especially if I can play international games on the way!!
I also really love the thrill of playing International Hockey. Not only is it intense, fast and clinical, it is also damn exciting. Playing in front of people, putting on the uniform, pre-game nerves, singing the anthem. These are all things that I absolutely love about playing International hockey.
What would you attribute to your success at such a young age? Other than your JDH stick of course, that's a given.
Haha, yes my stick is definitely the key to all of my secrets!
But seriously, it was definitely the support of my family and coaches back home in Melbourne. Jesse Workman is the coach of Southern United Men's PL team and has done many hours of work with me. We often worked together outside of my other sessions in the week to really pin point areas of my game that I needed and wanted to be better at. His knowledge and teaching ability is second to none, and definitely something that helped me become the player I am today.
My family was also my biggest support network, but also my harshest critics. My mum and dad would drive countless hours taking me to and from school and training throughout the weeks. They were always super organized with dinner ready to eat in the car on the way home, after school snacks and extra layers for the cold nights. They provided me with honest feedback about my games, whether that was positive or negative, and helped guide me to be the person and player I am today.
Who was your inspiration growing up?
I don’t think I could really pin an individual inspiration, but I aspire to have attributes of many great sportsmen and women.
If I really had to pick an individual hockey player though, I would definitely choose Luciana Aymar. I want to try and be as good as she was.
How does it feel that you are now an inspiration yourself to the next generation of potential Hockeyroos?
I just find it so crazy that people look up to me. I still can’t even get my signature right half of the time when I am signing kids shirts after the games, and the fact that people want to be like me is super cool!
Did you have any sort of message to these next gen girls/boys?
I just want to wish you all the best of luck with your hockey. Enjoy it and keep practicing. Maybe in a few years we will be playing in the Roos together! See you then!!
Wishing Amy the rest of the JDH family and the Aussie teams all the best for Tokyo, we'll be cheering you on the whole way!!