White Rock weightlifter Christine Girard is greeting by hundreds of fans at Vancouver International Airport upon her return from the Summer Olympics.

White Rock weightlifter Christine Girard is greeting by hundreds of fans at Vancouver International Airport upon her return from the Summer Olympics.

Girard thought she missed out on medal

White Rock weightlifter recalls moment after Summer Olympic triumph

When Christine Girard was lifting for a chance at a silver medal, she thought she was lifting for bronze.

So when she failed in her final clean-and-jerk attempt – in her mind, knocking her just off the podium for the second straight Summer Olympics – only to be told, moments later, that her performance was still good enough for a medal, she did something she hadn’t expected to do.

She started to cry.

“I was in a such a bubble when I was competing. Everyone else knew I had the bronze, but I didn’t,” she said Tuesday, a day after returning to White Rock with her husband, Walter Bailey.

“When I missed, and thought I was fourth, for a few seconds I was destroyed, I was so sad. But that change from disappointment to ‘Oh my God, I did it’ was amazing.

“I didn’t know how I would react. I just burst into tears, I was so happy.”

Girard’s bronze in the 63-kg division – Canada’s first-ever Olympic women’s weightlifting medal – came after she lifted 103 kg in the snatch, followed by 133 kg in the clean-and-jerk. Her score in the clean-and-jerk beat fourth-place finisher Sibel Simsek of Turkey by three kg.

At the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, Girard finished fourth, losing bronze by the same three-kg difference.

She insists, though, that her new Olympic medal is not necessarily vindication for four years ago, but instead the culmination of nearly two decades of hard work.

“It’s not just the last four years, but really, I feel like I’ve reached a new level now. I’ve been doing this for 17 years, and finally I have my medal. It means a lot,” Girard said.

The 27-year-old Quebec native, who has lived on the Peninsula for four years, left Wednesday for her home province, where she plans on spending the next 10 days visiting her family.

And as has been the case since she won her medal July 31, she expects to field many requests to show it off during her stay.

“For now, I bring it almost everywhere with me because everyone wants to see it. I don’t know what I’ll do with it once people get bored of it,” she laughed.

Girard admits she was surprised at the reception she and other B.C. Olympians – including South Surrey swimmer Richard Weinberger and members of the national women’s soccer team – received when they arrived at Vancouver International Airport Monday. Hundreds of fans showed up – many decked out in red and carrying Canadian flags – to pay tribute to the country’s local heroes.

“It was really neat, but unexpected. I didn’t think it would be that much,” said Girard. “What was best was seeing all the kids there, and being able to chat with them and see their eyes shine because they were able to touch an Olympic medal.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The South Surrey ‘Underground House’ includes skylights and just one side ‘window’ – this glass door that leads out to a patio. (Contributed photo)
South Surrey ‘underground house’ set to go up for sale

‘Unassuming’ John Kay-designed home include skylights, just one window

Swimmer Arianna Hunsicker outside the pool at Surrey Sport & Leisure Complex. The Surrey Knights swim club member is aiming to compete at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo next summer. (Photo: Tom Zillich)
Surrey swimmer aims for Paralympic Games amid COVID-19 challenges at Fleetwood pool

Arianna Hunsicker and other Knights club members train at the only public pool open in Surrey

One man is dead after a shooting in Fleetwood Sunday evening. (Shane MacKichan photos)
One dead after targeted shooting in Surrey

Incident took place near shopping complex at the corner of 152 Street and Fraser Highway

Items collected from last year’s Ocean Park Food Drive. (Contributed file photo)
Ocean Park Food Drive expands, open to residents south of 32 Avenue

Homeowners south of 32 Avenue and west of 160 Street encouraged to put donations on doorstep

(Black Press Media files)
‘Potentially damaging’ winds expected in Metro Vancouver

Wind is expected to pick up late Sunday night

A bus shelter in White Rock is emblazoned with an ad from B.C.’s Office of the Human Rights Commissioner on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. (Black Press Media files)
VIDEO: ‘Am I racist?’ campaign asks British Columbians to confront their unconscious biases

Signs asking British Columbians to think about racial injustice have been put up across the province

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond speaks to a reporter in Vancouver on November 13, 2015. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
No evidence that B.C. ER staff played blood alcohol level game, but Indigenous racism widespread

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond releases findings of independent investigation

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
B.C. care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

B.C. Finance Minister Carole James and Premier John Horgan announce $5 billion emergency fund for COVID-19 unemployment and other relief, B.C. legislature, March 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
Carole James stays on to advise B.C. Premier John Horgan

Retired finance minister to earn a dollar a year

A pedestrian makes their way through the snow in downtown Ottawa on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Wild winter, drastic swings in store for Canada this year: Weather Network

In British Columbia and the Prairies, forecasters are calling for above-average snowfall levels

NDP Leader John Horgan, left, speaks as local candidate Ravi Kahlon listens during a campaign stop at Kahlon’s home in North Delta, B.C., on April 18, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Most Read