NO matter what level athletes compete at, a set of unwritten rules will always apply, and Tessa Lavey soon found the Olympics were no different when she arrived in Rio for Basketball Australia’s gold medal pursuit.

Upon arriving in the South American city, her teammates gave her the team mascot, Kevin the Stuffed Boxing Kangaroo, an “honour” normally reserved for the youngest and freshest talents in sides across the country.

“Kevin and I have become quite acquainted, we eat together and he sleeps right next to my bed,” Lavey told The Guardian.

“If only he could talk of the shenanigans that go on.”

Behind all the laughter, a serious Opals side is gearing up for a finals assault as it looks to secure its first gold medal at an Olympic Games after finishing with silver in the past five competitions.

Walking into Rio, Lavey had only experienced the highs and lows of the Olympics from the outside.

The 23-year-old Perth Lynx captain is now experiencing it from the inside and said it was incredible to be part of.

“I am certainly enjoying the intensity of the games its something that you only hear of and until you experience, you can’t comprehend the intensity of it,” she said.

“Every athlete puts everything out there on the floor and the competitive nature of everyone goes to another level, its an insane atmosphere.

“There is certainly a lot of fanfare but for me to experience it on the inside if something I thought I would never get the opportunity to do.”

Lavey and the Opals were back in action this morning against Serbia.

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