Akeem Haynes, Yellowknife's Olympic medallist, presented with 1st-ever key to city
Haynes grew up in Yellowknife before moving to Calgary for high school
Akeem Haynes may have won a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, but the prize the track star took home Thursday night may be even more rare, as he was presented with the key to the city of Yellowknife.
Haynes, who lived in the city from 1998 to 2004, received the key during a ceremony Thursday evening at Yellowknife's fieldhouse. His mother, Carlene Smith, and his two younger siblings still live in Yellowknife.
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According to mayor Mark Heyck, who presented the key to Haynes, it's the first time the city has ever honoured someone with the key to the city.
Haynes, who lives in Calgary, was part of Canada's 4x100m relay team in Rio, winning the bronze medal alongside teammates Aaron Brown, Brendon Rodney, and track superstar Andre De Grasse.
Despite Haynes learning about the honour on short notice — "I found out yesterday at about 3 p.m.," he said — he took the ceremony in stride, taking time to interact with young fans, take pictures, lead sprints and sign autographs.
"It means a lot to me," he said. "Because this city, I once called home.
"So to be able to get this, I'm still trying to process it myself. But it's truly, truly remarkable."
With files from Jimmy Thomson