RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Jen Kish is running out of spots to put another tattoo but the captain of the Canadian women’s rugby sevens team has plans for at least one more following the Rio Games in which the sport will make its Olympic debut.
“I have this whole masterpiece in my mind that I am going to be putting on my calf and I will be completely tatted up,” Kish told Reuters.
“I will not get the Olympic rings put on me until I step on the field and put a jersey on and play,” she added.
”I don’t want to get the rings on me before that, it is kind of taboo.
“Yes, you’ve done the journey of an Olympian but you have to compete on the biggest stage in the world and until I do that I‘m not going to do it.”
One of Kish’s more prominent tattoos is the word “Fate” which stretches across one of her biceps.
A fitting reminder given that Kish, her 11 team mates and coach John Tait are steeled with the belief that an Olympic medal is their destiny.
Ranked third in the world, Canada will be among the gold medal contenders when the competition begins on Saturday.
“For us to finish outside a podium would be a disappointment but the teams that would keep us from doing that would have to perform better than we have ever seen before,” said head coach John Tait.
“I believe this team is on form and when we are we are next to impossible to beat.”
Certainly fate has played a part in Kish’s Olympic journey which at one time had her plotting a path towards the Winter Games before veering down another road.
Growing up in Edmonton where Wayne Gretzky was king, Kish believed ice hockey would be her Olympic ticket until rugby became her passion.
”I always kind of had an Olympic dream I played hockey a lot so I felt like I was going to go to the Olympics in hockey,“ said Kish. ”But I never played at an elite level so it was just a dream.
“Then when rugby came I just put that dream aside and then when I realised rugby is going to be an Olympic sport that dream came back.”
Kish’s dream will instantly turn into reality when Canada take to the field on Saturday for their opening match against Japan.
”Every night before bed I see myself taking a kickoff,“ smiled Kish. ”It’s funny because I try to keep my mind off of rugby when I‘m not on the field.
“You don’t go to the Olympics wanting to place second or to just show up, you want to go to win a gold medal and I think anyone who is going to the Olympics has the same vision of standing on the podium with a gold medal around your neck.”
Editing by Ed Osmond