Photo: Canadian Press
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.”