"I thought to myself 'just go for it, gold medal, gold medal.'"
Lisa Carrington admits she was able to bask in the final moments of her K1 200m final, knowing she was about to become the Olympic champion.
The 23-year-old sprint kayaker blitzed the field to win by almost half a second - writing her name into the history books as the first ever winner of the women's K1 200m title.
The win also brings New Zealand's medal tally to 13, level with the previous best haul from Seoul 1988.
New Zealand has now won five gold medals at London 2012, all of them on the water.
The result also restores sheen to one of the nation's most successful Olympic sports, which has struggled both on and off the water since the glory days of Ian Ferguson and Paul MacDonald
Carrington, who qualified fastest, said after producing a fierce second 100m she knew she had the title in the bag.
"You can never count on previous times, each race is different. I think it's all about rocking up to that start line and being confident," Carrington said.
"I had a good gauge but it's always really hard with peripheral. I kind of felt myself edging ahead.
"That took me to the end. You don't want to celebrate too early but I kind of did know."
She didn't get off to the quickest start though, running third in the early stages behind Poland's Marta Walczykiewicz and Inna Osypenko-Radomska of the Ukraine.
But at the 100m mark the New Zealander started driving back.
In the end Carrington's final 100m was so powerful she won by almost half a boat length in 44.638 - and acknowledged a strong headwind probably helped her.
"I can count on my endurance so you know the race is going to be at least one or two seconds longer [with headwind] so I didn't mind, I was quite confident," she said.
"It's exciting to win it, you spend so long just preparing and carrying on the journey. It's nice to look back on the experience of this last year and a half. It's great that it paid off."
Despite her young years and being on Olympic debut, Carrington seemed incredibly calm before the race, smiling on her way to the start gate. But she admitted underneath, she was churning and felt the pressure of being the 2011 world champion.
"It was good last night, I went straight to sleep all calm. My coach [Gordon Walker] said 'you're not that nervous this morning'," she said.
"Deep down I was quite nervous, but it's good having a great team, they distracted me for the hour before.
"It was a bit of pressure as well, but it [world title] gave me confidence. For three months I've been away in Germany and haven't been in touch with the press so much so it helps me on what I'm doing.
"I've received such great support from home, it's such a small community."
It completes an impressive Olympic debut for the Tauranga-born paddler who took up the sport aged 16 and set an Olympic record in the semifinal.
Osypenko-Radomska took silver in 45.053 and Hungary's Natasa Douchev-Janics was third in 45.128.
- © Fairfax NZ News