SAILOR Mara Stransky has become the first Russell Island resident to represent Australia at the Olympics as she heads to Tokyo on July 10.
The 22-year old has been sailing professionally since 2015, and will compete in the Laser Radials, a women's single-handed sailing class at the Tokyo Olympics next month.
Stransky said she was originally aiming for the 2024 Paris Olympics, so to make the Tokyo games was a real bonus.
"It's really exciting, a dream come true. It was a really surreal moment to get that call to say that I was going," she said.
Stransky got the phone call in March 2020, and just two and a half weeks later the games were postponed due to COVID-19, but she said it was a blessing in disguise.
"It was actually a pretty big opportunity. I'm one of the youngest in the fleet and I haven't really been around that long comparatively, so the extra year gave me more time to prepare," she said.
Sailing runs in Stransky's blood, her parents were sailing around the world when she was born, and she grew up on boats at Russell Island.
"Growing up on the island was fantastic. It's a really small, friendly community with a can-do attitude, and it's really made me who I am today," Stransky said.
"Sailing has always been in my family, my dad built a boat on Russell Island, we went to Asia and raced competitively there for about three years, and I wanted to be in charge of my own boat so I ended up in a dinghy sailing by myself.
"Originally it was just for fun but I came along at a really good time and got picked up by some great coaches who convinced me to give it a go."
Stransky has dedicated her life to the sport, from 3am wake ups at high school to making trainings at Mount Gravatt, to deferring an engineering degree at the University of Queensland to focus on sailing.
"All the effort I put in, I guess it just made me want to work harder to make it all worthwhile," she said.
She said she was looking forward to getting back out on the water after a long break.
"I haven't raced for 18 months since the worlds in Melbourne last year, so the most exciting part will be checking back in with the international fleet, and it's going to be good to race again," Stransky said.
Stransky leaves for Tokyo on July 10 and the Olympic sailing competition begins July 25.