You grew up in sun-kissed Brisbane, Australia, how on earth did you end up an elite Short Track skater?
I was eight years old and I was doing swimming but me and my sister didn't really like it and we told my dad we wanted to do something else, so he took us to the ice rink. In Australia we obviously don't have any frozen lakes or anything like that.
And I kept going, and going and going and I found I liked to go fast and then I tried speed skating. We weren’t really intending on it to be our sport but we liked it, kept going every week and that turned into every day and here we are.
My sister competed with me when we were young but then she didn’t like it as much, so she has stopped.
What is it that you love about the sport?
The racing aspect of it, the fact that anything can happen, it’s exciting. I don’t know why it doesn’t have more of a following, it’s super exciting to watch. You don’t want people to crash but they are exciting. People have big crashes but they get up and they are fine most of the time. There are soft pads out there.
What did your friends think of you and your growing obsession with Short Track?
I stopped going to school from grade nine and started being home-schooled, just as I was getting more serious with Short Track and heading to the national team. So, my friends are more skating people.
You have spent a lot of time recently training in Korea. What’s it like?
The Australian (winter sports) team is (normally) pretty spread out but for the past season there have been four of us training together in Korea. It’s good to be together. It is pretty hard to be on your own. Training is hard, they do a lot of volume training but we have fun. It’s been really good to have each other.
How do you spend your spare time when training in Korea?
The food out there is really good and cheap, so we socialise over food a lot. We live from meal to meal, basically.
My body type, I don’t have to stress about it too much. I eat healthily but I am not on a really strict diet or anything like that. Sometimes, once a week, I will be like, ‘I really want a doughnut or burger’.
If I have it more than once a week I will feel a bit guilty, but once a week it’s fine. I choose it on a day where I don’t have a hard training session the next day.
What’s your favorite food?
Sushi is probably my favorite. Seafood, anything like that. We all live in our own little apartments in the same buildings. We meet downstairs and eat together.
When you do go back home, in the off-season, what do you get up to?
Off-seasons, honestly, they are pretty short. It’s a couple of weeks for me. So I get things done that I need to do, like paperwork in Australia and then I just enjoy my rest, relax, see my friends.
Brisbane is 40-50 minutes from the Gold Coast, so I go to the beach there. It’s just nice to be in warm weather. I go to (North) Stradbroke Island, my family friends have a house there. The beaches there don’t have shark nets so there are more shark attacks.
How did everyone back home react to you winning bronze in the 1500m at the Audi ISU World Cup event in Budapest in September?
It was Australia’s first 1500m World Cup medal, so the whole of Australia was super excited for me. Leading up to this Olympics there is definitely a lot more attention on us, so it’s nice to win the medal in such an important year and get that attention.
What key skills do you think you’ve learnt from being an elite athlete?
Self-control, confidence, dealing with pressure. It teaches you a lot. How to stay composed, how to deal with ups and downs – you know, when you are having a hard time not getting too down because you know you are going to come back up.
What do you think about when you are racing?
It’s just natural now. Honestly, I get to the end of some races and I don’t remember what has happened. You are in the moment. That’s why we all have to watch videos.
Who is your dream lunch date?
Honestly, I am not crazy about celebrities. I might want to have lunch with Donald Trump because I want to hear what he would have to say. Whether it was good or bad, it would be funny to hear it.