Elite Amateur Sport Soccer

Vanessa Gilles’ Instagram post reflecting on becoming an Olympic champion

Below is the text posted by Vanessa Gilles to her Instagram page on Aug. 9, days after winning the Olympic women’s soccer gold medal with Team Canada:

What an incredible journey this has been. OLYMPIC! FLIPPING! CHAMPIONS! I still can’t quite find the words to describe my emotions right now, the only thing that comes to mind when I think of these past couple of days is “holy moly… holy moly… holy moly… WHAT A PRIVILEGE”.

It’s been a privilege to represent Canada at the 2020 Olympics. Thank you to the host nation of Japan, the IOC, the NOCs, the volunteers and everyone else involved who did such an incredible job to get these games underway in a safe but nonetheless incredible and spectacular way.

I’ve always dreamed of what it would be like to win something meaningful and impactful but never did I ever in a million years think that it would be the Olympics, playing soccer, for Canada, with such an amazing group of people, during a pandemic.

It’s been a privilege to share the field with players who inspired me to start soccer in the first place, who showed us all what Canadian grit is, proved that soccer is more than just kicking a ball around and above all, proved to me that nothing is impossible.

I wish I could pull a Cady Heron from Mean girls and share this medal with everyone (but I can’t with it being golden and all). There are so so so many people that have contributed to getting Canada to this moment and so so so many people in my life without whom I would never have made it anywhere. A thank you note in an instagram post isn’t the greatest to thank you’s but instead of shouting “I FLIPPING LOVE YOU GUYS AND AM FOREVER GRATEFUL” from the rooftop you’ll have to settle for this.

To my parents and family whose unconditional belief and love knows no end. To my brother Sabi, my voice of reason (even when I don’t want it or ask for it), the person I’ve always looked up to and have always wanted nothing more than to make proud. To the best group of friends (CYAN above all you know who you are) who give me confidence, hype me up at my lowest lows, give me confidence, hype me up even at my lowest lows and support me through it all. To my teammates who put up with my morning crankyness and push me everyday to come up with better jokes and better touches. To my current and former teams/coaches who believed in me despite the fact that I couldn’t (and still struggle to) pass a ball to someone’s feet and not straight to their heads or out of bounds. To Canada’s vets and trailblazers who have paved the way for us to even be in this position, and in such a unique environment with such an incredible mentality.

I wrote in my post pre-Olympics that making it to this tournament was just the beginning. Well winning it is most definitely not the end for me, for this team, or for this great soccer nation. 4.4 million+ Canadians watching the finals?? Three Olympic women soccer medals?? It’s time we take a big step forward and put more in place for our future. What could that look like you ask? How about we work to put in place some sort of professional teams in Canada to provide better development opportunities for our players & future players, and to provide exposure within Canada to inspire the next generation on a weekly basis, not on a 4-year basis. WE CAN DO THIS CANADA!

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