Cheyenne’s Olympic Experience

“I gave it my all in that moment, I tried my best and I didn’t give up. I remained courageous in the face of adversity and I’ll forever remember this point in my career - the memories and lessons,” Cheyenne added.
17 Aug 2021 11:00
Cheyenne’s Olympic Experience
From left: Viniana Riwai, Cheyenne Rova and Reapi Uluinasau before departing Japan on August 10, 2021. Photo: Cheyenne Rova

No words!

These were comments of Team Fiji swimmer Cheyenne Rova when asked of what was it like to participate at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

“I still pinch myself here in quarantine, thinking that I just came back from the OLYMPICS! I’m so grateful, so blessed to do the sport I love on the biggest stage possible,” she said.

Cheyenne came third in heat five of the women’s 50m freestyle and clocked a time of 27.11s

“To think that when I did my best time, with access to a 50m pool and facilities for months leading up to it and to look at what I had access to leading up to this race, I couldn’t be more proud of myself for what I achieved.

“Many will have something to say, some have already spoken out on their expectations for me, and that is okay.

“Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Obviously, I hoped to have gone faster, but that’s what I got.

“I gave it my all in that moment, I tried my best and I didn’t give up. I remained courageous in the face of adversity and I’ll forever remember this point in my career – the memories and lessons,” Cheyenne added.

Pre-Game ritual

And two days prior to her race, she called her parents and coaches as per her pre-game ritual for the Olympics.

“I told them that I was calling them now and I’d speak to them next after my race.

“I first called my mum and dad and siblings. Mum never fails to remind me to have fun, every athlete is different, but my mum is also my coach and she knows that’s exactly what I need to hear from her and I got that,” she said.

“After I spoke to them all I called my Nana and Uncle that I had been living with prior to these games. “And then I called my college coaches Nathan Owens and Sophie Kannmacher that I had been in contact with since I left college, they still give me advice.”

Cheyenne also spoke to her mentor Caroline Puamau, who has helped her a lot throughout her journey from tips and advice in and out of the water.

“Then I spoke to Ryan Frost and Matthew Brown, the two coaches that I worked with in Sydney at SOPAC (Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre) before I left for Japan.

“It was really brief because these were the only two that I had planned to speak to again the next day (day before my race). I worked with them right before I left for the games, I spoke to them every day to get through my final work sets and preparations so it’s who I chose to speak to one last time before I left for the pool on race day.

Game Day

A day before race day was for warm up and one last physio session.

Cheyenne also indicated she deactivated everything on her phone till after she finished her race.

“It’s not that I don’t have control and can’t stay off my phone but because I just wanted to go into my race with a clear mindset.

“Not think about the expectations people had for me.”

Time management was crucial on game day from when she needed to be in the marshalling area, eat lunch, nap, bus travel, stretch, get in the pool for warm up, get out and suit up and be in the marshalling area.

“All these things were accounted for and I gave myself an extra 10 minutes if something were to not go right.

“Obviously, as an athlete you also prepare mentally and physically for the uncontrollables, if something were to happen that was out of your control, what you would do to quickly get over it mentally and still be able to prepare physically.

“Again, Jesus was the captain of my ship, he got me there and he was going to get me through it all, everything went as scheduled like I had hoped so.

“I just had a feeling of gratitude! Jesus had brought me there, to that exact moment and place. Na draki qo, Jiova ga! “Everything I had prayed for – race at the biggest sporting event in the world, race for myself, for all those that were on this ride with me, for my country and most importantly race for the GLORY OF GOD,” Cheyenne added.

She has already started working in quarantine, planning on World Short Course in Doha in December and Commonwealth Games in July next year.


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