Almost a week out from the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, the Australian Women’s Eight Rowing Team got a call up saying “pack your bags girls, you’re off to Rio!” Now there are more female Olympic Aussie rowers than male. (Not trying to make a point of it or anything)!

The Australian team’s last minute call up was due to rowing’s international governing body FISA announcing that 22 of 28 Russian rowers have been banned from competing.

I was lucky enough to interview West Aussie Alexandra Hagan the day after the team got that call up and hear about her crazy week. She said it was “very unexpected.”

Alex is the only West Aussie of the women’s team and also the only one who has previously competed at the Olympics (London 2012).

She is 14 years deep in the sport and she’s represented Australia since 2008. “It’s not an easy sport and I guess it’s one you have to be passionate about.”

She seemed like a very easy going person and also very modest, something likely enhanced by the joy of having siblings. Alex has had a lot of support from her family since the start.

I asked her if she had a message for anyone out there who’s hoping to make it to a similar level one day and she basically just said if she can do it anyone can.

Click below to hear audio from my interview with Alexandra

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Bunbury Rowing Club. All photos reproduced with Alexandra’s kind permission.       _alesandra_hagan_

Aside from rowing, Alex has been pretty serious with her footy.

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Alexandra “Hagrid” Hagan playing for Saint Kevin’s Old Boys  _alesandra_hagan_

If you’ve seen my first ever blog post, Rowed to Rio, the guy next to Alex in the photo below might look familiar. Alex and fellow 2016 Olympian David Watts remain good mates (even though she’s added to the Australian Women’s Rowing Team being larger than the men’s.) Both are representing Australia in the Rio Olympics! Good luck guys!

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Alexandra and her mate (fellow Olympic rower) David Watts  _alesandra_hagan_