“To represent your country is the absolute pinnacle of sport”

Ahead of this month’s Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, Olympian Erin Phillips reveals what it’s like to represent your country.

Ahead of this month’s Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, dual Olympian Australian Opals basketballer Erin Phillips reveals what it’s like to represent your country in a world-class sporting arena. 

When I made my first Olympics in Beijing 2008, it didn’t really hit me until I stepped foot inside the Olympic Village.

It was that moment that I knew I was among the world’s best athletes.

To represent your country at an Olympic Games is the absolute pinnacle of sport.

But it also comes with great pressure.

You have two weeks to give it all that you have after putting in four years of practice.

Olympic Village Fun!

A post shared by Erin Phillips (@erinphillips131) on

The pool rounds in an Olympic Games are really important, but once you hit finals the Olympic Games become unforgiving and brutal.

There is no room for error and if you have a bad game, it’s all over.

Handling these pressures is by no means easy.

Some say it gets easier as you get older and more experienced.

However, I’ve felt the opposite.

The older I have gotten I have understood more and more deeply about what it means to wear the green and gold.

Playing for a team where winning medals has become part of the “norm” is even harder.

The expectations are enormous and anything below a medal is considered a failure. And it’s not just a failure for yourself; it’s a feeling of letting a whole nation down.

Scared? No way. Pressure to me just means the challenge is harder!

I read a great quote the other day that said: “You will only find out your true self when under pressure.”

I look at pressure as an opportunity to find out who I am and how well I can function while under it.

#mycrew @ausolympicteam @basketballaus

A post shared by Erin Phillips (@erinphillips131) on

So when standing in line next to my 11 other team mates and I’m staring up at the Australian flag, while the anthem is playing, I always thought about my family who were watching and feeling the nerves with me.

I would think about how proud I wanted to make them.

I would think about the millions of shots I practice or the countless hours I put into my skills.

At the end of the song I would remind myself why I got here in the first place and that was because I loved to play.

The result takes care of itself.

Erin Phillips is now co-captain of the Adelaide Crows in the NAB AFL Women’s Competition. Check out her interview with House of Wellness before the 2018 AFLW season.