July 21, 2016 11:53 am
Updated: July 21, 2016 12:01 pm

Rosie MacLennan: Who is Canada’s newest Olympic flag-bearer?

Trampoline gymnast Rosie MacLennan is seen training for the 2012 Olympics, where she won gold.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
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Trampoline athlete Rosannagh (Rosie) MacLennan has been chosen to lead her Canadian teammates into Maracanã Stadium in Rio, it was announced on Thursday, but Canada’s newest flag-bearer is no stranger to the spotlight.

The 27-year-old native of King City, Ont., first became a household name four years ago, when she claimed Canada’s one and only gold medal at the London summer games.

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READ MORE: Gymnast Rosie MacLennan named Canada’s flag-bearer for Opening Ceremony

In the minutes after her stunning performance, MacLennan told a reporter that she was “ecstatic,” but that she had mainly let her training take over during the routine and barely remembered the experience afterward.

She scored a personal best of 57.3 and returned home to Ontario to a hero’s welcome.

The long road to London

While MacLennan’s Olympic triumph was undoubtedly a major high-point in her career, the road to the podium was, as it is for most athletes, a challenging one.

WATCH: Prime Minister Trudeau announces Rosie MacLennan will be Canada’s flag bearer at 2016 Summer Olympics

She began her trampoline training at the age of seven after watching her three older siblings (two brothers and a sister) train at a local gym. By 1999, when she was 11, she was competing at an international level.

While her interest in the sport and talent were apparent, MacLennan has spoken publicly about the fact that she often felt that her body type didn’t quite jive with the ultra-thin ideal for gymnasts.

She has also suffered at least three serious concussions over the course of her career, including one in July 2015 that reportedly took months to recover from.

MacLennan’s constant friend and athletic companion over the years has been fellow Olympian Karen Cockburn, and together, the two dominated the synchronized trampoline event. MacLennan has called Cockburn her “role model” in both gymnastics and life.

Rosie MacLennan, left, and Karen Cockburn celebrate their gold and bronze medals respectively during trampoline finals at the Pan Am Games in Toronto on July 19, 2015.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

A win alongside Cockburn at the 2007 World Championships in Quebec City secured MacLennan’s place at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, where she finished in seventh place.

Between summer Olympic games, MacLennan has remained active both on and off the trampoline.

She volunteered at Canada House, the “home away from home” for Canadian athletes and their families, during the Vancouver winter games in 2010, sleeping on an air mattress in her brother’s living room during her stay in B.C.

She has also volunteered with Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities and with Right to Play Canada, an organization that uses sport to educate and empower children living in poverty or facing adversity.

MacLennan holds a bachelor’s degree in physical education and health from the University of Toronto, and is now working on a master’s degree in exercise science.

On her website, she lists skiing, snowboarding, wake-boarding, dance, corporate social responsibility, athlete social responsibility, sport for development, social marketing, physical cultural studies, public health and medical anthropology as her main hobbies and interests.

On Thursday, as she was applauded by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the new flag-bearer was beaming.

“Standing here, going into my third Games, I’m filled with so much pride and so much gratitude that words can’t even begin to describe it,” she said.

WATCH: Rosie uses a GoPro to show flips on trampoline from her point of view

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