Author Topic: Rhian Wilkinson reflects on Canada's Olympic journey  (Read 1363 times)

Offline Alan

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Rhian Wilkinson reflects on Canada's Olympic journey
« on: September 07, 2008, 06:06:57 PM »
I don’t really know what to write.

Actually I don't want to write anything, but I have decided that, if anything, writing this journal will be therapeutic for me.

There isn’t much I can say about the game except that we worked our butts off, and left everything we had out on the field. The United States played better than we did on the night, and frankly, they deserved the win.   

Of course, this does not make the pain of losing the match any easier. When the final whistle blew most of us fell to the floor and stayed there for a long time, totally exhausted, but also shattered. We really, REALLY wanted that win, and we honestly believed that this would finally be the day when we took it to the States and beat them.

The actual story of the game against the United States is a familiar one. They scored in overtime and beat us, which is a bit of déjà vu really. They had a ton of chances though, unlike other times we have played them in close games. The only reason we stayed even close was because we have two of the best goal keepers in the world. On any other team, when the starting keeper goes down injured, it often spells the beginning of the end as the other team packs on the pressure: Not on this team.

When KK stepped in to fill Erin’s goal keeper shoes, not a single one of us had any doubt that she would be amazing in nets for us, and she was. KK had not played a minute in the whole tournament and yet she has been the heart and soul of the team. She has been the loudest, the most encouraging in the locker room after and before games, she has been the one whom you can always count on to be a in a good mood, and she is the one ready to ease any tensions that may have arisen.

She played phenomenally well for us, in terrible, wet conditions, and she is the only reason the game was as close as it was in the end.

I don't have anything else to say about this Olympic quarter final game. However, I do have something to say about our team.

We all thought we could win gold here, and there was hardly a doubt in any of our minds. Of course, this makes losing even harder, as at the final whistle, we were almost in a state of disbelief.

Lying out there on the sodden field, I couldn’t help but think that something big and important had come to an end. Obviously the game and our run for gold had come to the end of our Olympic journey. But, it is also the end of our time together as a squad.

For the last two years we have trained hard together out in Vancouver, and we have become friends. The story has been told in the more than 200 journal entries I have made in this blog. Now, after this 2008 Olympic Tournament everything will change. Some of our squad will retire, younger players will come through the ranks, team chemistry will bubble and seethe, and we will lose some of our coaching and management staff, and we will lose our coach of nine years: Even Pellerud.

There will never be another team like this one and such endings are hard to contemplate.

I would like to thank everyone I have played with and worked with on this team. It sounds a little "corny" and hackneyed, but these have been the best years of my life .. .so far anyway. All I do know is that as I grow older, I will continue to look back on this time, and on these people, and wish I could be back here with them, or wherever I go in life.

I must also say a big thank-you to everyone back home, and indeed from overseas too, for your fantastic support of us along the way. Our team knows it has one-of-a-kind fans, because  we can feel their presence all the way here from Canada. We have appreciated the support, every message and note and sentiment, that you have passed along our way.

Alltid. Uansett.