Canadian women's rugby bronze a win for young girls in sport
'I’m glad the world got to see that and I’m glad Canada got a chance to see that,' star player says
Canada's women's rugby sevens team made its Olympic debut taking home a bronze medal in Rio, but the real win is the impact that the historic win will have on young women getting into the sport, say many women who are part of the Canadian rugby community.
In a historic night on the pitch Monday, the Canadian women's sevens rugby team captured the first-ever Olympic rugby medal with a 33-10 win over Great Britain. That, after losing 22-0 against the British in a preliminary game.
But just moments after the win, Toronto's Ghislaine Landry, who led Canada with 18 points, was already thinking about the impact it would have on women's rugby back home. She's one of four players from the team who train around the Greater Toronto Area.
"I hope that shows what we can do, and hopefully will give some young girls an opportunity to do the same down the road," Landry said. "I'm glad the world got to see that and I'm glad Canada got a chance to see that."
'Couldn't stop smiling during the game'
Brampton's Jane Kirby is a former teammate of Landry's, who now plays on the national senior women's 15-player team. She says this win could inspire a whole new generation of young girls and show them the rugby dream is within reach.
"Now to have role models out there on the pitch that are women and are Canadian women doing so well… I just couldn't stop smiling during the game," Kirby said.
Ashley Rycroft shared the pitch with one of the team's star players, Kelly Russell, for more than a decade. The vice president of Toronto Nomads Rugby club has known Russell since she was 16.
It's a tradition that goes back at least a generation, Rycroft says. Her own step-father and Russell's played together in the club and the two daughters now count themselves as "second-gen nomads." The Russells are therefore a rugby dynasty, she says.
Rycroft says the win and the fact that women's rugby, which has been around for many years, is finally gaining international attention, forges new ground for young aspiring athletes.
"[For] young girls that Olympic dream can now be a rugby Olympic dream as opposed to another sport," she told CBC Radio's Here and Now on Tuesday. "It brings it to really a main stage, something people can really get behind."
With files from Greg Ross, Here and Now