'Rio and Tokyo Were Some Of The Best Weeks Of My Life' - Lydia Ko Chasing 'Fairytale Ending' At Paris Olympic Games

Lydia Ko won silver and bronze in 2016 and 2020 - but is hoping to go one better at this summer's Paris Olympics

 Lydia Ko of New Zealand on the practice putting green during the second round of the Grant Thornton Invitational at Tiburon Golf Club on December 9, 2023
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Lydia Ko struggled to contain her excitement for this summer's Olympic Games, with the two-time medallist eyeing up a 'fairytale ending' in Paris after near-misses in 2016 and 2020.

Ko claimed silver in Rio de Janeiro eight years ago before taking home a bronze medal at the delayed 2020 Games in Paris, finishing just one shot shy of eventual gold medallist Nelly Korda.

The Kiwi endured one of her worst years on the LPGA Tour in 2023, registering just two top-ten finishes throughout the regular season. However, the two-time Major champion ended the year in style, winning the inaugural Grant Thornton Invitational alongside Jason Day to give herself some much-needed confidence heading into the new year.

And there is just one event in the calendar at the forefront of her mind - a chance to represent her country for the third time at this summer's Olympics in Paris which begins in just 200 days.

"The Olympics is very important for me, to be able to represent your country," she said, speaking ahead of the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions in Florida.

"The two weeks that I was there in Rio and Tokyo was like some of the best weeks of my life. I think second place and like third place, oh, it was a good week, but you don't talk about it. 

"It's pretty cool when you get a medal for coming second and third. That's the great thing about the Olympics. Every player that's there, every Olympian that's there has something to celebrate. That's a win in itself. To say that I'm an Olympian, it's crazy. I joke sometimes I'm not an athlete but an Olympian. 

"I'm super excited for Paris and to be able to represent New Zealand on any day. It's something I'm very honored and grateful for."

Lydia Ko holds her bronze medal on the podium during the victory ceremony of the womens golf individual stroke play during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Lydia Ko won bronze for New Zealand at the Tokyo Olympics

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Having turned professional at age 16, Ko now enters her 11th full season in the paid ranks. She will be 31 by the time the next Olympics in Los Angeles rolls around and the 26-year-old is acutely aware that Paris may represent her last real opportunity to stand atop the winner's podium.

"LA is another five years from now. I don't know if like I will still be playing by the time LA comes around. I'm thinking maybe this [the 2024 Olympics] might be the last hoo-rah, and what a fairy tale ending that would be to collect every color medal."

Lee gets underway at the Tournament of Champions on Thursday alongside Ally Ewing at 10.48pm ET.

Ben Fleming

Ben joined Golf Monthly having completed his NCTJ in multimedia sports journalism at News Associates, London. He is now a freelance journalist who also works for The Independent, Metro, UEFA and Stats Perform.