'I can be on that podium': Sask. wrestler ready for Rio

Saskatoon wrestler Jillian Gallays is in her final weeks of preparation before she heads off to Rio.

Last year Jillian Gallays was sidelined by an injury, now she's heading to the world stage

Jillian Gallays, top, has added another award to her successful career on Canada's national wrestling team. She earned a bronze medal at the world championships in Uzbekistan. (Canadian Press)

Saskatoon wrestler Jillian Gallays is in her final weeks of preparation before she heads off to Rio.

She is an official member of Canada's women's Olympic wrestling team, but at this time last year she never thought she could make it.

Last July, she severely injured her knee. 

"I definitely thought my career is over. I didn't think I could make it back in time to push for Rio," said Gallays.

The injury was so bad that when she began to recover her focus wasn't on wrestling but getting back to a normal state.  

"I wasn't necessarily even rehabbing for sport. I was just rehabbing for life," she said.  

She knew she had to get better to live a healthy life, even if her Olympic dreams were shattered.

Gallays took it one day at a time, and with willpower and strong supports, she found her way back to sport.

She had her fourth knee surgery of her career just a few months before the Olympic trials in December. Her standings were high as she was a Pan American Games champion, so she only had to face the winner of the trials in February.

To her personal relief, she beat her opponent two to zero in a best of three series.

That was the moment she realized her dreams by qualifying as an Olympian.

"You work so hard," she said. "It takes your breath away." 

Gallays said she's ready to bring it all home. 

"I definitely believe I can be on that podium," she said.

The wrestler is already imagining hearing the national anthem up on the world stage. 

"Standing on that podium has been my dream ever since I thought I could make it to the Olympics."

Gallays wrestles in the 53-kilogram division. 

with files from CBC Radio's Saskatchewan Weekend