The happiness, pride and honour you feel knowing you have been selected to go to the Olympic Games is hard to describe.
They are feelings that will be hard to repeat but which I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
I have to say that the moment when the team was named was tough and, in my case, very long, as I will explain later.
Although the formal announcement was made on Friday, the squad was announced to the players a week earlier, but we all committed to keep it confidential so that the announcement of the two Olympic squads – men’s and women’s – was a big occasion for Brazilian rugby.
The week leading into the announcement was unbearably long, Friday would never arrive – it felt as if Christmas would come first!
Having played for so long gives you sufficient confidence when it comes to playing the game, certain of your quality and experience, but nothing had prepared me for that Friday afternoon.
Everyone was on the edge at that final training session, we were nervous … moody.
The final countdown
In the end we decided that we’d change plans and rather than have the squad naming at dinner we would do it earlier as this would allow those missing out time to grieve in private. After that we’d go out for dinner as a team.
We met at the auditorium at our training venue. We saw a couple of videos, the staff talked to us and soon after the big announcement came. After the captain, the rest of the names came randomly and not starting with the forwards. The picture of the selected girl came up on the screen.
As it was not announced in any order, I was totally lost. The names started to add up and my photo didn’t come up so I started to get very nervous. I was confident, but my heart felt like it was about to explode.
Seven names appeared, eight, nine, 10 and 11 … mine was the very last name! I managed to breathe again.
It was a very nice moment, very emotional but I did not cry although my brain was working like crazy, happy in the knowledge that I will finally be an Olympian, but fully understanding the weight of responsibility of playing for my mates and my country. It felt like a nice blend of happiness and pride.
"I feel a huge responsibility ahead of what we are heading into and together with the pride is a desire that will help us go that extra bit to ensure we are ready for what will be the incredible dream of playing in the Olympic Games."
There and then we took to the stage and hugged each other. We made it very clear that we were more than 12 players. Those that missed out on the Olympic Games will continue to work with us until the last moment because we need them and because anything can happen.
An incredible dream
As we are heading into three very intense weeks of final preparation, last Monday and Tuesday we went into the countryside to a small town called Atibaia, close to Sao Paulo. We did some trekking, wanting to go to the top of a big rock aptly named Piedra Grande (Big Rock) but got lost.
It didn’t matter as it was not dangerous and we had a lot of fun. We worked together as a team to find our way out of the jungle. We got back after sunset, but it was a good experience.
We played some volleyball, soccer and relaxed the body and mind by the swimming pool as the focus for the next three weeks will be very intense.
Being now closer to the Games is a unique experience, different and one that I want to enjoy with my team-mates, my friends.
I feel a huge responsibility ahead of what we are heading into and together with the pride is a desire that will help us go that extra bit to ensure we are ready for what will be the incredible dream of playing in the Olympic Games.
And all in the city I call home, Rio de Janeiro.
Photo: Joao Neto/FotoJump