Small southern Alberta city goes all out to assist its first-ever homegrown Olympian |

2021-07-21 09:16:36

Storefronts have been plastered, viewing events have been organized and the complete city of Vulcan, Alta., is all-in on its first-ever homegrown Olympian.

Keyara Wardley is the lone Albertan on the Rugby Sevens squad that may signify Canada on the Olympic Video games in Tokyo. At 21 years previous, she’s additionally the youngest participant on the roster of 12.

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“(In) a city of two,000 individuals, it’s form of cool as a result of all people is aware of all people, they usually’re simply so excited for Keyara,” mentioned Wardley’s mom Lisa Wylie.

A store in Vulcan, Alta. reveals assist for native athlete Keyara Wardley.

Danica Ferris / International Information

Wylie handed out T-shirts as a part of a fundraiser for her daughter in Vulcan on Tuesday. A second fundraiser was organized by household buddy Jeannine Tucker, whose daughter performed in opposition to Wardley rising up.

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“I do know that the women don’t do properly when it comes to getting paid and all of these issues, they usually used to should — up till two years in the past — pay their very own approach,” Tucker mentioned.

“So to me, it was like, ‘OK, that is my alternative, I can step as much as the plate.’”

Tucker bought 118 circumstances of steak in simply six days in assist of Wardley. She mentioned it has been unimaginable to see the group band collectively.

“My daughter, who’s away in Nova Scotia, had seen the images (of the city),” she mentioned. “And he or she mentioned it’s so wonderful to see how a small group like Vulcan would come collectively for a lady that half of them in all probability don’t essentially even know very properly. However that’s what we do in a small city.”

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Its an achievement that hasn’t been misplaced on anybody in Vulcan, or on Wylie, who mentioned it appears unbelievable when she thinks again to dropping her daughter off in Victoria to coach with the nationwide workforce 4 years in the past.

“From the minute we obtained out of the automotive and watched the women on the sphere, Keyara was identical to, ‘Oh my gosh, Mother, that’s Kayla Moleschi, Ghislaine Landry, Britt Benn, Charity Williams…,’” she mentioned.

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“It was simply an enormous awe second for her to assume that they really thought she could possibly be there, and he or she is.”

Relations and all spectators have been banned from attending occasions on the Tokyo Olympics attributable to COVID-19. However Wardley, who has been coaching in Whistler, B.C., and can head to Tokyo on Wednesday, mentioned she’s already been feeling the assist from afar.

“My mother sends me images every single day — all the brand new posters going up, all the images and indicators in home windows,” she mentioned. “Simply having that assist may be very grounding.”

Wardley mentioned she couldn’t be extra grateful for all of the individuals which were cheering her on whereas she’s been undertaking what’s been a lifelong objective.

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“I’d all the time bug my mother and bug my brother about desirous to be an Olympian and going to the Olympics,” she laughed.

“For it to really be taking place is so surreal, and I’m so excited and so honoured to have the ability to make my dream a actuality.”

Click to play video: 'Final countdown to Tokyo Olympics riddled with uncertainty'

Closing countdown to Tokyo Olympics riddled with uncertainty

Closing countdown to Tokyo Olympics riddled with uncertainty

The Canadian ladies will kick off pool play in opposition to Brazil on Thursday, July 29 (viewing events on Canadian soil will probably be on Wednesday night) and Wardley mentioned the workforce is laser-focused on a typical objective.

“Heads down, we’re hungry for that gold medal,” she mentioned.

“The ladies going to Rio in 2016 and coming again with the bronze, that was clearly such an excellent expertise for them, however I feel this yr we’re on the hunt for that gold medal.”

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Canada’s pool for round-robin play contains Brazil, Fiji and France.

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