Dame Lisa Carrington is our most successful ever Olympian with five gold medals and a bronze to her name, but when asked about accepting her New Year’s Honour, incredulously she wasn’t sure she was worthy.
“I had to really think do I deserve this?” the 32-year-old said, admitting she’s still getting her head around the new title.
“I do feel quite young, I still feel like I’ve got a lot more to go. I guess that just means I can continue doing what I do and hopefully keep inspiring New Zealand."
At this year’s delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics Dame Lisa won three gold medals in the kayak, winning the K1 200m, the K1 500m and the K2 500m title with Caitlin Regal.
She’s currently holidaying in Ōhope, her first time back home since returning from her successful Tokyo campaign.
Just before you reach her parents’ home there’s Lisa Carrington Lane in case she loses her way.
She admits walks down the beach take a little longer than they used to as people stop to say hello or congratulate her, and that was before her latest accolade.
When the email arrived from the Honours Unit the first person she told was fiancée Michael Buck.
“He was like, 'Well, I guess you deserve it,'” she laughed.
“For me, all I try to do is just do the best I can, represent my family, New Zealand, in a way that I think is authentic and putting a lot of work in and just try and be better every day.”
“I feel pretty normal,” she added.
Following her latest Olympic campaign, Carrington was given G.O.A.T (Greatest Of All Time) status by many. She now has a more “official” title.
The newly bestowed Dame said while they’re both big honours, her latest one means joining a special club.
“I think the women and men who have this accolade… They’ve done so much and they’ve given back to New Zealand in such a special way, so to be among them is just really cool.”
The honour is also a recognition of others who have played their part in her success.
“There’s a lot of people that put time and effort, their heart into what I do, so I carry a lot of that with me.”
The superstar kayaker has already committed to the 2024 Paris Olympics.
She’ll line up as Dame Lisa Carrington although when it comes to the day to day?
“Just Lisa," she chuckled.