Why the ‘coolest’ part of Lydia Ko’s Olympic experience wasn’t medaling

Lydia Ko is one of the few names in women’s golf who really needs no introduction — but it’s still a fun exercise to re-visit her accomplishments: she first became World No. 1 at age 17, she has 28 wins on the LPGA Tour, including two majors, and at age 26, she’s currently only one point away from qualifying from the LPGA’s ultra-exclusive Hall of Fame. Oh yeah — and did we mention she’s also a two-time Olympic medalist, winning the silver in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and the bronze in Tokyo, Japan, in 2021? As Subpar co-host Drew Stoltz quipped, Ko’s resume “will make everyone feel very insecure about their life accomplishments.” Indeed!

On this week’s episode of Subpar, Ko reminisced on her Olympics experience with Stoltz and Colt Knost, and shared her favorite moment from Rio in 2016.

“For me, I think just the really coolest bit was in Rio, because other athletes could come and watch us play,” she said. “I think over 20 New Zealand Olympians came and watched me play on the final day, and a couple of them had actually won gold medals in their sports. So I remember them actually coming with their gold medal to come watch me play.

“And I think on those final three holes, when I saw them all around with our team uniform and our flag, I think that was just the coolest part of like being in the Olympic, like, Olympian club.”

Lydia Ko pushes to the brink of Hall of Fame status after season-opening victory
By: James Colgan

The Rio Olympics marked golf’s return to the event for the first time in more than a century. Ko was the top-ranked player in the world at the time, and she said she felt the pressure to perform.

“I felt like I was playing with a lot of expectations,” she said.

In Tokyo five years later, Ko said she enjoyed more of the full experience, though she concedes she didn’t spend much time in the Olympic athletes’ village.

With the 2024 Paris Olympics coming up this summer, Ko, with characteristic humility, says she’s simply hopeful to be on the team again.

“I joke all the time that I might not be a great athlete, but I am an Olympian and I am very proud to have represented New Zealand in the last two Olympics,” she said. “And I’m I’m excited and hopeful to be able to represent New Zealand again in Paris.”

For more from Ko, including her thoughts on retiring at age 30, check out the full episode below.

Exit mobile version