Sport: Canoe – Sprint
Olympic History: Rio 2016
Highlights: Becoming Under 23 K1 1000 World Champion in 2017; finishing eighth in the K2 500 at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games
Coach: Anna Wood
Year Born: 1995
State Born: Queensland
Unable to go to the Olympic Games in her chosen sport of surf lifesaving, Alyssa ‘Aly’ Bull started kayaking to fulfil an Olympic dream. Bull was inspired to try kayaking when she watched her surf lifesaving idol Naomi Flood compete at London 2012.
Bull started ski paddling at the age of 16 for surf lifesaving and was the Under 17 Australian Ironwoman Champion in 2012.
In 2013, she competed at her first national kayaking competition before she represented Australia at the Junior World Championships and finished eighth in the K4 500 metres.
During this time, Bull was climbing surf lifesaving ranks and she competed in the 2012/13 and 2013/14 Ironwoman series.
A decision to focus on kayaking full-time paid dividends as Bull achieved her childhood dream when she made her Olympic debut in Rio alongside K2 partner Alyce Wood. The pair won both K2 selection events, defeating their idol Naomi Flood and her partner Olympian Jo Brigden-Jones, in an upset to secure their spot.
At the Rio Games, the duo made the A-Finals of the K2 500m by finishing third in their semi-final. In the final they came eighth and finished in a time of 1min 51.915sec.
Although firmly focused on kayaking, Bull often returns to surf lifesaving competition and in 2018 she won the world surf ski title at the Lifesaving World Championships. At the 2019 Australian Surf Life Saving Championships, Bull dominated the ski events winning four gold medals for the Alexandra Headland SLSC.
Four years after they achieved an upset, Bull and Wood were the favourites leading into Australia’s Tokyo 2020 selection trials. The pair dominated both nomination events winning the K2 500 Australian and Oceania Championships. Individually, Bull finished the Australian Championships with K1 500 bronze.
Bull is also a firefighter with Queensland Fire and Emergency Services. After failing to make the Academy in her first attempt, Bull finished Dux of her course in 2018.
Initially, like every athlete, my dream was to represent my country on the greatest world stage, which is the Olympics. Growing up my chosen sport, surf lifesaving, couldn’t take me there. I started kayaking and quickly fell in love with it and the people that are involved.
Janelle Pallister, she encouraged me to put surf lifesaving on hold to chase Olympic dreams.
I love the adrenaline that comes with racing. The nerves mixed with a ton of excitement is impossible to replicate in any other environment. And when you race team boats, your best buddies are right there with you.
My brother was my biggest inspiration growing up. Being two years older than me, I always wanted to be doing what he did. Whether that was kicking the footy in the back yard or constantly trying to chase him at training.