What were your first memories of Australia? Any funny stories about when you first arrived?
My first memories are from April 2000 when we arrived in Sydney for the World Cup (a test event for the Olympics). And of course, driving on the left side of the road was a culture shock, so you need to rotate your head 360 degrees because you don’t remember from which side to expect a car. The accent is a bit different. It actually took me 10 years to understand it completely. The best memories from that trip are our visit of Taronga Zoo and a kangaroo’s attempt to steal my camera. I wouldn’t allow it and it tried to kick me. Then my teammate and I walked and walked till late and suddenly found that there were no people around, we were alone. So, it was a mixed feelings of being able to wander freely at the zoo and fear of being trapped there till next day. But then we found a special one-way gate and managed to catch last ferry.
How were the 2000 Olympics and did they convince you to eventually move to Australia?
Everything was great – the village, venue, food, fireworks and a major Australian asset, the friendly people – but back in 2000 I didn’t even dream about moving to Australia as it seemed too far away.