Canada’s Brianne Theisen-Eaton went to bed Friday night facing what seemed an unsurmountable hill to climb.
The 27 year old could have crumpled, called it a day on her Olympic heptathlon medal hopes. But she didn’t.
The two-time world silver medallist from Humboldt roared back to win bronze in the women’s heptathlon at the Rio Olympics, overcoming a disastrous Day 1 that had left her in sixth place.
Theisen-Eaton arrived in Rio as the world No. 1 ranked in what’s considered the ultimate all-around test: seven events covering all athletic disciplines — 100-metres hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200 metres, long jump, javelin and 800 metres — spread over two gruelling days.
She opened with a sixth-place finish in the 100-metre hurdles, and despite her best efforts would finish Day 1 there, all but erasing her dreams of a victory. Instead of a golden story, she’d have to settle for a comeback story.
“It’s not easy to get to the Olympics, and I think I underestimated the amount of difficulty winning a medal,” said Theisen-Eaton, who planned to celebrate Saturday night with “Nyquil and sleep.”
“It’s different from the world championships, it means more, so to know ‘OK I have to do it otherwise I have to wait four years,’ is that much more added pressure.”
“I am really confident in my Day 2, so I came out with a fire, and was like ‘I’ve got to fix this,'” she said, a Canadian flag draped around her shoulders. “I was excited to compete today and I was having fun. Was more relaxed.”
“Going into this I wouldn’t have said, ‘Yay, I won a bronze medal,’ but I’m really really happy with it,” she added. “The Olympics is tough, if it wasn’t just tough to get here, there would be a lot more people competing at this meet. And so I’m really proud of myself and happy with myself, even if it wasn’t gold.”
Meanwhile, Canadian swimmer Penny Oleksiak failed in an attempt to win a 5th medal at the games. The 16 year old was on the Canadian team that finished 5th in the 4 x 100 meter individual medley relay.