HOLLY Lam-Moores spent six long years preparing for the Olympic Games but her life has been a whirlwind ever since.
The Burnley-born handball star has had little chance to come down from her London 2012 experience after starting the latest exciting chapter of her life.
While Great Britain team-mates have had to come to terms with life without the Olympics, Lam-Moores was whisked off to play professional handball in Denmark.
And tomorrow evening she will make history when she becomes the first British player to play in the Champions League.
“Since the Olympics, it has been a whirlwind,” said the former Alder Grange pupil. “So much so that the day after the closing ceremony, I was on a flight out to Denmark.
“I have had no chance to get that feeling of deflation and that is probably for the best.
“I know there are players who have found it difficult because we all worked so hard to get to the Olympics and, after all the euphoria, it was suddenly over.
“I know that is exactly how I would feel if it wasn’t for me moving to Denmark.”
Lam-Moores has signed a one-year contract with Viborg HK who are currently top of the Danish Handball League. She has already made a big impression, playing every game and is among the club’s leading scorers with 17 goals from six appearances.
But her introduction to the professional game was suppose to be gradual.
“I was brought in as a number two for my position but the player who should have been in the team has been injured so I have played every game. It has been an incredible experience and I think I have preferred it this way.”
Lam-Moores, who first started playing at Haslingden Handball Club, says it will be a great honour if, as expected, she plays against German champions Thuringer in the first Champions League match.
She said: “There have been British players who have played professionally before but none in the Champions League so it will be a great honour for me if I play tomorrow night.”
Lam-Moores can expect to play in front of crowds of up to 4,000 this season – but nothing will come close to the experience of playing in a packed-out, emotionally-charged Copper Box during the Olympics.
“That was absolutely incredible,” said the 22-year-old. “We worked for years towards the Olympics and thought I would be ready for what happened but that wasn’t the case.
“Nothing can prepare you for a home Olympics. It was amazing. The nation really took it to its heart and the response we got what overwhelming.
“The atmosphere in the Copper Box for our matches was awesome. It was real goose bump stuff.”
Lam-Moores revealed she played with a stress fracture in her lower back – an injury she is still recovering from now – which hampered her performances during the Olympics.
“I basically had five weeks to try and recover from an injury that would normally take six months to recover from,” she said.
“But I wanted to be there and just get through the games. It wasn’t ideal but there were some players who were robbed of their Olympic experience.
“I got to play and also score in the Olympics and see everyone cheering gave me a real buzz. That is something I will never forget.”
While Lam-Moores will be playing football-style Champions League handball, the wages don’t come anywhere near those earned by football’s high earners.
“There are some players in Romania earning as much as £200,000 a year and in Denmark the top earners can get around £60,000,” she revealed.
“I’m no where near that but I am in my first year and that is something I have to build up towards. I suppose it is like starting any job, you don’t jump straight to the top of the ladder.”
Lam-Moores does not know where her future lies after her season at Viborg.
“I could have signed for two years but I just wanted to sign for one and take it from there. I have joined a very good club and if I do well I could sign for another year or perhaps join another club. But that is something to consider in the future.”
Great Britain were well beaten in every game at London 2012 and Lam-Moores admits that could be as good as it gets for the foreseeable future in the Olympics.
“It will be tough,” she said. “Funding has been cut and the reality is that Great Britain may not even be playing in Rio as we would have to qualify. “There were 12 nations playing in London and there is no way we are ranked in the top dozen countries in the world at the moment.
“I suppose it is something of a reality check.”
Lam-Moores was the face of handball leading up to the Games and she now even has her own Wikipedia page and the ‘verified’ tick on her Twitter account.
But she believes such exposure can only be good for the game.
“It’s very humbling to have my own Wiki page and things like that but it just means that if I am getting famous then so is the sport,” she said. “I would love to see more youngsters playing it in schools and in handball clubs. “That is what the legacy is all about. It is a cheap game to play and an easy game to learn. “I just hope all those who showed an interest during the Olympics get the opportunity to play.”