4 Aug 2016

Sport: Family affair for Cook Islands' Nicholas family in Rio

12:23 pm on 4 August 2016

The Rio Olympics will be a particularly memorable occasion for the Nicholas family from Cook Islands.

25 year old Ella will compete in the women's K1 canoe slalom event and will be her country's flagbearer in Saturday's opening ceremony.

The qualified medical doctor has represented the Cook Islands since 2007 and was placed in the top 12 at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Four years on and she has been joined by older brother Bryden, who will make his Olympic debut in the men's K1 canoe slalom race on Monday morning.

Cook Islands paddlers Ella and Bryden Nicholas at the Olympic Village in Rio.

Cook Islands paddlers Ella and Bryden Nicholas at the Olympic Village in Rio. Photo: Facebook / Ella Nicholas - Canoe Slalom Athlete

The pair trained together in New Zealand in the lead up to the Summer Games and Bryden Nicholas said it's a special moment for the family.

"Yeah for sure and I'm super proud of Ella and what she has achieved and she's sort of coached me into what the Olympics is going to be like a little bit, after her experiences from London and trying to build on those for this Games. (I'm) pretty privileged to be first off and to be representing the Cook Islands so I'm definitely excited about the race coming up on the seventh (local time) and hopefully I can just put out a good performance and go in making the semi finals."

"We actually came over to Rio about six weeks ago now for a two week camp and got stuck into the course and got familiar with where we're going to be racing and got into the village about a week ago. We came in pretty early to the village and it was pretty barren, not many people around, but it's been exciting to see everyone slowly dribble in and turn up."

The family connection doesn't stop there with the Nicholas siblings able to call on some support from close quarters.

"We've got dad here as our team manager so he's in the village with us. Mum's here as part of the team management as well so both mum and dad are in the village so it's pretty exciting to have them here and be able to share the experience with them."

The Fiji men's football team will be the first Pacific athletes in action tomorrow morning when they take on South Korea.