(Courtesy of USA Canoe/Kayak/Rob van Brommel)

Ashley Nee knows the heartbreak of just missing the Olympics. She had one bid knocked down by an ill-time injury, another lost on a tiebreaker.

Just getting to Rio de Janeiro was thrill.

Now that she's here, there's no reason to not want more.

After reaching the semifinals of women's kayak, she's put herself in position to do just that Thursday at the Whitewater Stadium.

"I'm happy that I was able to put together two good runs and put myself in position," Nee said "I just need to keep it going."

Nee had a long road to get here.

She secured a spot for the 2008 Beijing Games, but suffered a shoulder injury in training and ended up fourth at the Olympic trials, losing her place.

Four years later, she had enough points to qualify for the London Games, but lost on a tiebreaker to Caroline Queen. Even after securing a spot for Rio, Nee had to wait to see if a quota spot would open up.

Now she's here and the difficult road has made her appreciate it more.

'I almost didn't believe it until opening ceremonies," Nee said. "I went through a lot and it took a lot of work and perseverance to get here. But that made it all worth it even more."