“I still shake my head in disbelief when I hear that.”
Those are the words of Kaitlyn Lawes, the woman who threw Third stones for Jennifer Jones’ Team Canada rink at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, upon being introduced as an Olympic champion in front of over 300 Yorkton residents during an autograph session at Yorkton’s Canadian Tire on Monday evening.
However it seemed as if Lawes was once again caught unawares by the fact that her name, Kaitlyn Lawes, quickly followed the words ‘Olympic Champion’ on Monday evening, despite the fact that she has no doubt heard it many times since Thursday, February 20th, the day she became an Olympic gold medalist and etched her name among curling greats. “It’s still pretty surreal to hear that and a dream come true,” said the diminutive Lawes. “We’ve had such an amazing experience over in Sochi and now to come home and see the support that Canada has been giving us, it just gives me chills.”
One would imagine that, with her new found fame, her life would be completely different.
According to Lawes however, her life hasn’t really changed much since arriving back in Canada with a gold medal around her neck. “It’s been busy but I wouldn’t say different,” mentioned Lawes. “It’s been a bit of a whirlwind. We haven’t been home a whole lot. I was just in Toronto last week and got home last night and then got in the car and drove out here so it’s been a whirlwind but it’s been amazing.
“The support from everyone has just been outstanding and it’s so amazing to be able to put a smile on someone’s face when they get to hold that gold medal so it’s pretty special.”
The support that she mentioned was out in full force on Monday evening in Yorkton as over 300 proud Canadians lined up for the chance to get an autograph, have a chat and hold the gold medal that Lawes had won in Russia.
But what, exactly, was Lawes doing in Yorkton in the first place? Believe it or not, the young Olympic champion was in town on business. “Well I work for Goldline Curling Supplies and we’re doing a tour the next couple of days,” offered Lawes. “Canadian Tire sells a lot of Goldline Curling supplies so it’s nice to be able to get into the stores and see who is buying the products (and meet the people who supported us in Sochi).”
However, as excited as Lawes was to get out on the road and meet the people who supported her throughout the Olympics, there was an equally, if not more, excited person at Canadian Tire on Monday evening.
But who was that person? None other than Yorkton Canadian Tire Associate Dealer David Dungey, who struggled to hide his happiness. “How often do you get to host an Olympic Gold medalist, especially two and a half weeks after she won the gold?” Questioned a grinning Dungey, continuing, “I’m definitely excited about having Kaitlyn here not just as an Associate Dealer but as a proud Canadian.”
Dungey went on to describe Lawes as “a personable young lady and an amazing representative for Canada”. A description that was proven to be true throughout the autograph session as the Olympic champion from Winnipeg spent time conversing with person after person, signing autographs and smiling the entire time.
And while her new found celebrity status hasn’t been overwhelming yet, Lawes did admit a couple of things. “My cheeks are pretty sore (from smiling) and my hand is getting stronger (from signing autographs) but it’s neat to be able to do this for everyone.
“It’s an experience I wouldn’t want to miss.”