After joining the team in 2012, Rose has been travelling, competing and making a name for herself in a tough sport for nearly four years. As soon as the Black Sticks qualified for this year’s Rio Olympics, training was amped up, regimes intensified and the competitiveness surged.

I spoke with Rose on her return from Rio, where the Black Sticks were placed fourth overall. Rosie showed up early; she was fresh-faced, welcoming, and open to all my questions. For someone who has been catapulted into sports stardom (remember the milk bottles), she is an egoless delight…

DID YOU ALWAYS HAVE A DREAM TO PLAY HOCKEY FOR NZ?

Not particularly, no. I was into a lot of other sports growing up which I loved just as much as hockey. I played because I enjoyed it and I truly believe that’s the only reason why you should do anything. My ability as a player progressed as I got older and when I was 18, I was given the opportunity to trial for the team and have been a part of the group since.

TAKE US THROUGH A DAILY TRAINING REGIME IN THE LEAD UP TO RIO

It was a really busy time in my life and one that I think you are only able to actually do day-in, day-out because you know you are representing your country. Our week was made up of about seven turf sessions, three gym sessions, one yoga or stretch session, and meetings. The weeks were definitely long and you felt the fatigue in your bones by the end of them. But it meant we were totally prepared heading into Rio.

AND WHEN YOU ARRIVED, WHAT WAS THE VIBE LIKE?

Amazing but also very surreal. I couldn’t get my head around the fact that I had made it. It was hugely inspiring being in an environment where everyone had trained their whole lives to get to that point and was in peak physical condition. It was also great being part of a wider New Zealand team. I was blown away by our athletes.

WHAT’S IT LIKE INSIDE THE OLYMPIC VILLAGE?

Huge! Everything is on a mega scale and I found it so crazy to think that they built everything especially for the games.

ANY GOSS? GO ON, TELL US…

No goss. We were all well behaved!

AFTER PLACING FOURTH, WHICH IS AN INCREDIBLE ACHIEVEMENT, HOW DID THE TEAM FEEL?

It’s a really hard feeling to explain. I guess the best way to describe it is by picturing the one thing you have always wanted and worked for your whole life, and then getting so close to it but falling short. There was pretty much nothing else to do but be completely gutted. It has been really great to have the support from everyone back home who were all so proud of us for achieving fourth. But for us, as competitive people, we know it wasn’t good enough.

AFTER YOU GOT BACK, DID YOU HAVE A BREAK?

We were given a compulsory six-week break. It was important to take that time to relax, so the body and mind can recover!

WHAT’S NEXT FOR ROSE KEDDELL – HOCKEY-WISE, LIFE-WISE, GOAL-WISE?

Big question and one I am still pondering myself! I’ll continue with the team and hopefully have another opportunity to go for Olympic gold in Tokyo. I have a few papers left in order to finish my degree, so I will try to do that by the end of next year. Then aside from that, I guess time will tell!

I believe that you are capable of achieving anything you set your mind to. If you want it badly enough and are prepared to work hard enough to get it, there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t be successful.

OKAY-NOW SOME LOCAL INSIGHTS.

FAVE COFFEE SPOT IN TAURANGA Luca coffee shop!
FAVE KIWI LABEL RPM, Georgia Alice, Miss Crabb, the list could go on…
FASTEST TIME UP THE MOUNT 11ish minutes
CURRENT WORKOUT SONG/ALBUM Currently Drake’s album, Views.
FAVOURITE BAR/RESTAURANT I’d probably say Astrolabe, Christmas Eve. That place is the best! Restaurant-wise, do the Gourmet Food Markets at The Mount count? They’re amazing!