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Take 5, Lisa Carrington

Welcome to Take 5 where I take 5 questions to some lovely people I know (and some I don’t) and they tell us a little about themselves.

Earlier this year you saw her powering through the water and the competition at The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and smiling atop the podium proudly accepting Gold on behalf of Aotearoa. I’m very pleased to have had an opportunity to Take 5 with Lisa Carrington MNZM, athlete and Olympic medalist…

You wore Te Teina ō Huia while competing at the Olympics (I was watching and I squealed, then you won and I squealed) and I’ve been told 'Te Huia’ holds a special place in your heart. Could you share why?

My fiancé, Bucky gave me your Te Teina ō Huia earrings as a departing gift in the build-up to Tokyo. They were a fitting gift because my waka is named Te Huia. I was incredibly fortunate to have Scotty and Stacey Morrison bless and name my waka while I was in Japan. I named my waka Te Huia because of the characteristics of the Huia bird. Huia birds are collective feeders, working symbiotically with its mate to bring back kai for their flock. Working as a collective inspired me, this is something I aspire to be like. When I race, my performances are not all my own, but for Aotearoa.

The Olympics is a melting pot of many peoples and cultures. You have said that the exploration of your Māori heritage has helped you in life and in your sport. In what way?

Having a connection with my identity has helped me feel grounded and gives me the sense I am a part of something greater than myself. Having that gratitude for my ancestors and an appreciation for what they have given me allows me to find my place in the world. A real connection to my heritage allows me to go beyond where I thought I could go, like competing on the world stage at the Olympics during a pandemic!

What’s the worst job you ever had?

I worked at a café as soon as I moved to Auckland from Ōhope. I didn’t grow up having eggs benedict or flat whites, so when I began as a waitress I struggled to take orders because I just didn’t know what customers were asking for. I didn’t know you could get eggs scrambled, poached or fried… I just thought of eggs as eggs. Auckland has been home for over a decade now and needless to say, I’ve become very well adapted to the café life and I enjoy the city’s wonderful coffee culture.

Being a professional athlete means a great deal of dedication; training and discipline. Working towards peak physical performance requires a healthy, monitored diet but what is/are your go to indulgence/s on a cheat day?

While I definitely need to be disciplined at times, I am a huge fan of balance so I love to enjoy good food and drink - it’s one of the ways I relax. I’m a big fan of anything fried -  karaage chicken and curly fries are a couple of my go-to orders. I’m a sucker for good chocolate as well.

And finally… please can you share with those of us uninspired, Lockdown flabby, Squid Game watching couch potatoes your ‘get up and go’ playlist for working out?

Music motivates me to get out there for a run, or bike and in the gym, so I love having a wicked playlist to get me through. My playlist leading into Tokyo included:

Humble - Kendrick Lamar

Up - Cardi B

Run This Town - Rihanna, Jay Z, Kanye West

Black and Yellow - Wiz Khalifa

Levitating - Dua Lipa (feat Dababay)

Lemon - N.E.R.D & Rihanna

Can't Stop the Feeling - Justin Timberlake

Dance Monkey - Tones and I

Listen to the playlist on Spotify here.

📸 Lisa Carrington photo courtesy of Vera Bucsu / Art of Rowing

Instagram: @lisacarrington

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