There were cheers, hugs and tears as the family and friends of Jen Kish watched her lead Team Canada to the first-ever Olympic bronze medal in women’s rugby sevens.
About a dozen people, including Kish’s fiancée, Nadene Selewich, packed a house in south Edmonton to see Canada beat Great Britain with a decisive 33 to 10 final score.
The team of fans cheered as Kish entered the field and yelled at the television as play got underway, popping the champagne bottle after the game ended.
“It’s a very exciting time,” Selewich said.
“Not only is it a dream of hers but for all her friends and family, we’re so proud of her.”
Selewich calls the bronze medal “a great accomplishment of hers” and said it was tense watching the game unfold.
“A lot of emotion went through me. I wanted to cry. I was just so happy she was able to come home with a medal. I know that’s what she wanted. We were just so happy that it turned out this way.”
Watch below: Jen Kish’s family and friends speak about watching her win Olympic bronze
Jay Keddie-Thomson has known Kish since the Olympian was her coach in high school.
“It was amazing,” she said of watching the game. “My best friend, my best man at my wedding, but also my hero.”
Keddie-Thomson said it is hard to believe she now knows an Olympic medallist.
“They played incredible. That game just shows the team that Canada is and they deserve that. We’re very, very proud of her.”
Pat Matusko, Selewich’s stepmother, watched the game, at times, with clenched fists.
“I think the tension and the excitement is so emotional. It just shows the rollercoaster ride we’ve been on and I can’t even imagine what she’s been on,” she said.
Matusko calls the game “history.”
“For me, this is her dream come true. One of the things I will always remember Jen saying is, ‘a medal will not define me.’ While we are all so happy she and her team have won, she was always an Olympian to us.”
Watch below: Rugby Canada team captain Jen Kish speaks to Global National’s Vassy Kapelos about her journey to Rio 2016 and the support from Canadians.