Exactly one year ago, Jen Kish led the Women’s Rugby Sevens Team to a bronze medal at the Olympic Games in Rio, making history.
Team Canada reached the podium on Aug. 8, 2016, as the world watched and the country cheered.
“It’s hard to even think it’s already been a year,” Kish told Global News on Tuesday.
What stands out most for her is how the win affected and inspired the country.
“Still, to this day, I have people come up to me saying how great of a job we did as a team and how we’ve inspired their kids to join sport. Right now, there’s been a spike in rugby registration, which is really nice,” Kish said.
Female athletes got things started for Canada during the Summer Games and many became overnight stars and role models.
Kish admits this year has been a crazy one for her.
“I actually ended up getting an agent which is unheard of, I think in rugby, because rugby is actually not that big. With the agent, comes endorsements.”
She’s partnered with Driving Force and says her teammates are getting opportunities as well.
“We’re just on TV more and it’s nice. It’s nice to see strong women on TV.”
Watch below: Jen Kish led the Women’s Rugby Sevens Team to a bronze medal in Rio, making history. Kish joins Emily Mertz in studio to talk about being a role model, her relationship with her father – a single parent – and how she hopes to build rugby in Canada.
After the glow of the Games, Kish admits she contemplated retirement.
“People said, ‘You should probably retire after Rio. It’s a good tournament to retire on, what a high,’ and they almost convinced me… and I said, ‘You know what? Heck no. I’m going to keep going.'”
She’ll be playing another year with Team Canada.
That also means she’ll be adding some more ink. Kish has a tattoo of an Olympic torch on her calf to celebrate her experience in Rio. She also has several maple leafs; the first of which she got when she joined the national team at the age of 16.
“Now I have 12. I’ve been playing for Canada for 12 years. This year, because I just signed another contract, it’ll be 13, so I’ll be adding another leaf.”
The past 365 days haven’t been all highlights. Kish has struggled with injuries. An old injury returned after Rio and in May, she broke her pelvis.
“I’m rehabbing right now but I’m looking forward to being back on the field and with the girls soon,” she said.
It’s that attitude that has carried Kish’s successful rugby career so far, and it’s part of the message she shares with younger athletes.
“Have this unshakeable belief in yourself. A lot of people are going to try and tell you, ‘You can’t’ and ‘it won’t happen.’ Those are just obstacles. Basically, when someone says ‘you can’t’ it means you can’t do it with them. I think my belief within myself has brought me where I am today.”
Watch below: Global Edmonton Woman of Vision: Jen Kish