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'Wow': Parents of Alberta gold medallist Kelsey Mitchell proud of her win on cycling track

Sherwood Park's Kelsey Mitchell took home gold at the women's sprint cycling event on Sunday, with her parents watching and cheering her on from their Alberta home.

'She's worked so hard for this,' sprint cyclist's mother says

Kelsey Mitchell of Canada celebrates after the race. (Christian Hartmann/Reuters)

It was an emotional ride for Kelsey Mitchell's parents as they watched their daughter on Sunday win gold in the sprint cycling event at the Tokyo Olympics, earning the country's 24th medal.

"We've been exhausted, our throats are sore, but we're just so incredibly proud. She's worked so hard for this," Mitchell's mother Val said Sunday.

Mitchell, from Sherwood Park, Alta., has been in the sport for only four years. This was her first Olympics.

Mitchell, 27, beat Ukraine's Olena Starikova 2-0 in the best-of-three final in Tokyo's Izu Velodrome. The sprint features cyclists going head-to-head in three-lap, 200-metre races.

WATCH | Mitchell sprints to gold medal in Tokyo: 

Kelsey's father Brent Mitchell said she was working a job she wasn't too keen on after university.

She drove a water truck and with a lot of time to think about her goals on the job, she decided she wanted to be an Olympian, he said. 

She flew herself to the RBC Training Ground facilities in Toronto and began working out there. Cycling Canada noticed her shortly thereafter. 

"And here we are with a gold medal," he said. 

Both her parents said it was so hard not to be there in person. Mitchell grew up playing every sport she could, according to her dad, and her parents were always there to watch. But the family and her friends and fans around the world adapted to watch her gold-medal win. 

Some of Mitchell's family looks on, in a decked-out living room. (Submitted by Val and Brent Mitchell)

COVID-19 delayed the Tokyo Olympics, but Brent said that was likely the difference-maker for his daughter, as she had more time to train.

"What was really, really exciting was when she rides around the track with the Canada flag," Val said. 

"To win the last medal of the Olympics ... Wow."

Mitchell is set to be back with her parents in Sherwood Park Monday afternoon, "eating whatever she wants," her mom said with a laugh.

With files from Myles Dichter and CBC Sports

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