Seven-time world hockey player of the year Argentina’s Luciana Aymar says she is like a 20-year-old at her first Olympic Games.
Aymar will be 35 on the day of the women’s hockey final in London, and Olympic gold is the only prize in the game she is yet to win. She has a silver medal from Sydney 2000 and bronze medals from the Athens and Beijing Olympic Games. Gold has come at two World Cups, in Perth in 2002 and in her home town of Rosario in 2010.
An Olympic gold in the “beautiful” Riverbank Arena would add the finishing chapter to a superb career, but Aymar is not feeling the pressure.
“The truth is that I try to put myself in the shoes of a 20-year-old player like it was my first Olympics, enjoying every moment. I’m enjoying every second of it, I’m not worrying about anything, I’m going to really enjoy the 20 days I’ve got here,” said Aymar.
“I’m enjoying every moment. At the Olympic village today I was like a player who has never played at an Olympic Games before. I was taking in everything, enjoying every moment whether it was in the dining room or in the bedrooms. I was enjoying myself with my teammates,” she said on Tuesday.
The final touches are being added to the Riverbank Arena this week and the stadium has increased capacity from the London Prepares test event in May, where Aymar was notably absent.
“I’m also enjoying being at the stadium. The girls knew I had never trained here before. They are all asking me what I thought of the pitch and the truth is that I remain shocked about how beautiful it is,” she said.
Aymar has superstar status in her native Argentina where the natioanl women’s hockey side la Leonas – the lionesses – are a national icon. She has also been granted the honour of being Argentina’s flag bearer at Friday’s opening ceremony.
“It is going to be an emotional day for me, as well as for all my team, for my family and for all the Argentinians. The truth is I’m a little anxious. I hope it all goes well and we enjoy ourselves,” Aymar said.