World champion canoe sprinter Lisa Carrington will be able to ease some nerves in her first Olympics before her hour - or should that be 40 seconds - of truth in the K1 200m.
The 23-year-old from the Bay of Plenty begins her regatta with Erin Taylor in the K2 500m heats at 9.49 tomorrow night (NZ time) and the semifinals 40 minutes later.
The top four in each semifinal progress to Thursday night's final but, on form, New Zealand should not feature among the medal contenders.
Carrington, however, is one of the favourites in the mad dash that is the K1 200m, where all Kiwi eyes will be firmly fixed on the reigning world champion.
The heats will be raced at 9.19pm on Friday (NZ time) with the semifinals just over an hour later.
All things going to plan, Carrington will be back at Dorney Lake west of London the following day for the final.
Carrington went from obscurity to being a household name in the space of 39.998 seconds in Szeged, Hungary, last August when she won the world championships over the ultra-short distance.
She's carried that form into 2012 which means she heads into her first Olympics as one of the medal favourites.
But the amiable Carrington, who has been preparing for the Games in Germany, knows she'll have a battle royale on her hands.
Three-time Olympic champion Natasa Douchev-Janics, a winner of a whopping 18 world championship titles, made her intentions clear by edging Carrington in the World Cup meet in Germany in May.
The Hungarian great was missing from last year's world championships because she took a year out of the sport to have a baby, but she returned in style to clock 40.751 seconds in Germany, beating Carrington by just 0.09s.
However, the former surf lifesaver from Ohope is not daunted.
"If someone else is faster on the day, then so be it, but ultimately I'm looking for Olympic gold," Carrington said recently.
"All I can concentrate on is my race and I'll be doing everything I can to make it the best of my career. There's definitely pressure going into the Olympics as a world champion, but that's good, it's important.
"That pressure is a way of reminding myself it's all about what I can do on the day and doing everything I can to get the best performance out of myself."
- © Fairfax NZ News