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Michelle Heyman marks life-long Olympic dream with body ink

Matildas striker Michelle Heyman will be heading to the tattoo parlour to celebrate a life-long dream of becoming an Olympian.

Heyman continued her stellar tournament scoring the opening goal as the Matildas beat North Korea 2-0 on Monday night in the Olympic Games qualification tournament in Tokyo.

The result was enough for the Australian women's team to secure their spot at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro later this year.

"This is all that I've ever wanted, this is my No.1 goal in life to be an Olympian and now I'm going to get a chance," Heyman said.

"That feeling is incredible and it's another tattoo I can add on to my body. Most definitely need the rings on me. I've been saving a little bit of space on my body for it.

"I told myself I would have those rings on me and hopefully it's going to happen soon."


Heyman had a relatively quiet W-League season by her lofty standards, scoring five goals for Canberra United.

However, she has turned that around on the international stage with her most complete performances for the national team.

Not only has she found the back of the net three times, she has also worked tirelessly in pressuring defenders and winning the ball back.

Matildas coach Alen Stajcic said: "Michelle's a transformed player for me this tournament compared to how she played in the W-League. She's been one of our stars. We know we can rely on her now.

"Her workrate's immense, her goal-scoring, when you add that to the mix, just makes her a world-class player and we're thankful she's contributed like that this week."

Heyman and Matildas teammate Caitlin Foord grew up together at Warilla, south of Wollongong, and played their junior football for the Warilla Wanderers.

Their understanding paid off when Foord squared a lovely ball for Heyman, who smashed it into the back of the net.

"We wanted to represent our home town and get out on the field and have the time of our lives," Heyman said. "We played a great game together, and having Caitlin set up my goal was awesome.

"Watching that ball roll slowly towards my foot, all I was thinking was be calm and put it in the back of the net.

"This smile of mine hasn't left my face. I can't sleep, everything's come true from when I was a little kid."

The Matildas take on China on Wednesday with the main carrot the chance to move up in the world rankings. From there, all roads lead to the Olympics.

It's the first time the Australian women's team has qualified for the Olympics since 2004.

Beach volleyball legend Natalie Cook and Australian Opals basketballer Abby Bishop spoke to the players about what they could expect at the Olympics and especially the opening ceremony.

"They told us it's a bit tiring because you're on your feet for five, six hours, but it's the most amazing atmosphere and you wouldn't want to miss it," Heyman said.