How do you beat Lisa Carrington?
It's a question the best K1 200m canoe sprinters in the world have been asking for seven years without finding an answer.
At the weekend, the 30-year-old former Whakatāne High School student added to an absolutely remarkable record with two gold medals at the Canoe Sprint World Championships in Szeged, Hungary - her seventh successive gold in the K1 200m backed up with another in the K1 500m.
While many successful athletes have trophy cabinets at home, I imagine Carrington needs a trophy warehouse. If she melted down all her medals and started making jewellery, she might put Michael Hill out of business.
Carrington has now won a remarkable 17 World Championship medals, including 10 golds, in her stellar career. Add successive Olympic gold medals in the K1 200m, as well as bronze in the K1 500m in Brazil and you start to wonder where she will rank among New Zealand's best athletes at the end of her illustrious career.
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Moments like this weekend don’t come around often. Double 🌎 champ in the k1 200m and 500m. And a hard fought 4th in the k4 with @aimeejoyfisher @kaylaimrie @caitlintryan. I am hugely grateful for my team of boss ladies in the above and boss men on the side lines. Helluva season. 📸 @photosportnz @rowingcelebration
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Judging by her World Championship performance, you would not bet against Carrington winning another two Olympic gold medals in Tokyo next year. Just qualifying to compete at three different Olympics is impressive, to completely dominate a sport for eight years is legendary.
Think about what it takes to perform at such a high level for so long. The hours upon hours she spends paddling back and forth during training. The competitive drive and discipline required.
To even stay injury-free for that long is quite remarkable. It shows the time and effort Carrington must put into her preparation, recovery and nutrition - it takes more than just going out and paddling.
Following the Kiwi team at the World Championships during the weekend was a good taste of what we might see at the Olympics next year. I can't wait.
Who said test cricket was dead?
I'm a massive fan of test cricket but I'll admit, after the pandemonium of the Cricket World Cup final between the Black Caps and England, I struggled a little to get excited for the longest form of the game in recent weeks.
Luckily, the Ashes between Australia and England and New Zealand's test series in Sri Lanka have produced valuable reminders of what is great about five-day cricket.
While weather disrupted much of the test between New Zealand and Sri Lanka, the Kiwis were able to set Sri Lanka a target of 187 runs to chase before taking five wickets on a remarkable day five to win by an innings and 65 runs.
Meanwhile, after scoring 67 in their first innings of the third Ashes test, it seemed the best result for England would be a draw and even that would be a stretch.
Step up Ben Stokes, the Kiwi-born Englishman scored an unbeaten 135 to lead England to the most unlikely of victories.
I understand that to some people, watching cricket for five days sounds horrible. But to me, the beauty of test cricket is the anticipation that builds during those five days. It's like a game of chess, both captains trying to stay three steps ahead of the other throughout.
It all builds to a climax on day five, the fact that so much has already gone into the game to that point makes it so much more exciting. Long may it last.