Toyko Games - Olympic ambition burning brighter than ever for Abbie Brown ahead of Tokyo Games
Rio 2016 Olympian Abbie Brown returns to GB Sevens action this weekend at St George's Park as she prepares to take part in this summer's delayed Tokyo Games. They had been expected to take place in 2020 but the coronavirus pandemic meant the event was put back by a year, though they do now appear set to take place.
She said: "You're not just going on a rugby tour, which is what we usually do, we're going on a whole multi-sport event, which you're then part of something even more special.
"You see people that, like, I saw Andy Murray, I got on a lift with him, and I was like, 'Why am I on a lift with Andy Murray?'
"I couldn't, couldn't compute it. Because I was like, 'I'm just me, cracking on, and actually it's amazing. Now we're on the same team'.
"It's really special."
Brown, 25, is finally back in sevens camp following a tumultuous year for the men's and women's squads, who had both previously qualified for the Olympics.
But Covid-19 led to a funding crisis and England's setup was scrapped by the RFU in August.
The teams, determined to step foot in Japan, turned to crowdfunding for help before the National Lottery stepped in and offered support.
Now the central question has shifted from if Team GB will be represented to which 13 women will have the honour of wearing the shirt in Tokyo.
Andy Murray of Great Britain reacts to a missed point on day 5 of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia match between Max Purcell and Luke Saville, both of Australia against Liam Broady and Andy Murray, both of Great Britain at Foro Italico on May 12, 2021 in R
Image credit: Getty Images
And Brown, one of just four women in this week's camp at St George's Park who also competed in Brazil, had a visceral reaction to being asked about the possibility of donning the kit again.
"It gives me goosebumps, just asking the question," the England captain replied.
"It's huge. Playing for England [is] a huge passion of mine, but then when youâ€™re playing for GB, you're playing for the wholeâ€¦ you're playing for GB. You're playing for Great Britain. That's unreal.
"I remember the first time I put the jersey on, I was like, 'I'm going to be sick.' I was still so nervous.
"But it's an amazing experience and something that is so cool to be a part of."
Three days of internationals, beginning Saturday, will see Brown's squad facing off against Ireland and France in a series of much-needed Olympic preparation matches. It will also be a crucial audition for the 13 available Tokyo places.
Brown watched with envy as other countries' squads international action got underway this year.
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In Rio, Team GB was edged out by Canada for the bronze medal. Last month, the Canadians were crowned champions of the Dubai 7s, beating the Americans, who placed fifth in 2016, along the way.
And in February, several other sides, including Spain and Russia, faced off in Madrid.
Brown said: "When I saw the girls out in Dubai, Madrid, I was jealous.
"I was like, 'I want to be there!'. We played scrag against Ireland yesterday and it was just so nice to play someone that isn't us.
"And for a lot of the girls, they don't even know who they [the Irish and French] teams are. So that's an exciting challenge in itself, that nobody knows them. And nobody knows us.
"And that's going to be exciting just to see where we're at. I keep saying 'exciting' but it is.
"I love sevens. I've missed that element of competition and playing people that don't know you. It is exciting."
Almost as exciting as meeting Andy Murray in a lift.