Olympics-Canoe queen Carrington looks to add to New Zealand record haul in Paris

FILE PHOTO: Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Canoe Sprint - Women's K4 500m - Semifinal 2 - Sea Forest Waterway, Tokyo, Japan – August 7, 2021. Lisa Carrington of New Zealand in action REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

(Reuters) - Canoe sprint champion Lisa Carrington became New Zealand's most decorated Olympian at the Tokyo Games and is not ruling out adding to her record medal haul at the Paris Olympics.

The 34-year-old from Tauranga, who took three golds at Tokyo's Sea Forest Waterway, was named in New Zealand's biggest Olympic team of women canoe sprinters on Wednesday, with five female team mates to join her at her fourth Games.

In addition to five Olympic golds and one bronze medal, Carrington has also earned a damehood in the New Year's honours in 2022 from a grateful nation.

Expectations are therefore high on the home front about her prospects in Paris.

Not that "Dame Lisa" is feeling the pressure.

"Sometimes I don’t think I notice the pressure until I am in a tight spot," she told New Zealand media on Wednesday.

"It doesn’t help having won multiple medals before but for me it is making sure I don’t limit myself from what is possible.

"It’s obvious from past performance there will be pressure but it is about me accepting that I have done things and people are going to be watching.

"But it also brings more support, which is a really cool thing."

Carrington won consecutive K1 200m titles from 2012-2020, along with the K1 500m and K2 500 golds at Tokyo.

She will be unable to defend her K1 200m gold, with the event dropped from the programme, but will defend the others and also compete in the K4 500m.

Carrington has not ruled out a tilt at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics but is keeping focused on Paris.

"Every Olympics has been a privilege," she added.

"With sport, you never know if you might be injured one day or if you can get back to it.

"I know how finite it is, how special it is."

(Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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