Caitlin Foord reflects on her Olympics debut at Rio 2016

Like many Aussies, Caitlin Foord dreamed about representing the country at the Olympics.  In 2016, that dream became a reality. 

Caitlin Foord ‘s dream to represent Australia at an Olympic Games began as a kid, sitting in front of the television for hours on end, watching her idols in green and gold compete at the highest level.

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“Growing up, I remember watching the Olympics. I remember just coming home from school and sitting in front of the tv, watching whoever and whatever sport was being played,” Foord said.

Obviously if an Aussie was competing, I wouldn’t want to miss that. As soon as I knew of the Olympics, it was my dream instantly to want to be an Olympian.”

Four years ago, Foord achieved that goal, walking out onto the pitch for the Westfield Matildas at the 2016 Rio Olympics in front of friends and family.

“The moment I walked out to be an Olympian, it honestly didn’t feel like real life,” she said.

“Not many people can turn a dream into reality, and I guess it just made me think back to when I was a young girl watching the Olympics.

“Never did I think, ‘that would be me one day.’ I remember actually feeling a bit emotional.

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Foord during the national anthem in her first Olympics match (Credit: Ann Odong)

“And obviously to have my mum and sister there in the crowd made it even more special, especially for them being by my [side] every step of the way. There was no way they were going to miss it.”

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Unfortunately, Foord’s Olympic debut was dampened slightly after Australia fell behind Canada early in the match and couldn’t fight their way back from a 2-0 deficit. 

“I definitely think nerves got the better of us against Canada,” she said. “As soon as that game finished, we would have wanted to have it back and do it all over again.

“It was just disappointing, and we knew that performance didn’t reflect us. But also, at the same time, it was good to just get it out of the way and forget about it.”

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Foord in Australia's second game against Germany (Credit: Ann Odong)

After their bumpy start against Canada, Australia’s next match against Germany was their chance for redemption.

“We just wanted to get out there and play and show the world what we really could do, myself included,” she said.

Australia found themselves 2-0 up before the end of the first half, with Foord claiming her first Olympic assist and goal, setting up team-mate Sam Kerr before hitting the back of the net herself 40 minutes later.

My goal [was] a very special moment. Scoring a goal is always a nice feeling but to score one on the Olympic stage instantly makes it extremely special.” 

“It’s a goal I’ll never forget.”

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Caitlin Foord celebrates her first Olympic goal against Germany (Credit: Ann Odong)

For Foord, major tournaments like the Olympics are so important because they bring the entire community together and allow Australian athletes to prove themselves on sport’s biggest stage.

“I think it’s just the Australian culture to love sport and we have this underdog tag, so the Olympic Games allows Australians to showcase our fight to the world,” she said.

I think when Australian athletes showcase this [our fight], they instantly earn the respect of the world and make Australians proud watching and supporting.”

Foord now has her sights set on the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. Despite the set-back in scheduling due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Foord is determined for the Westfield Matildas to bring home some silverware.

“I think last Olympics was a good learning experience for us all. It just feels like our time, we need to not let this opportunity slip,” she said.

“So definitely [we want] to go there and come home with some silverware, preferably gold. I’ve never been satisfied with anything but gold.”