After making history just over two weeks ago by becoming the first Canadian woman to win a medal in Olympic weightlifting, White Rock's Christine Girard arrived to a hero's welcome at Vancouver International Airport on Monday.
"I was really impressed with all of the people that were there, it was a really warm welcoming and it was really cool," she said, adding she was surprised by how many people turned out to greet Canadian athletes. "What I really enjoyed was seeing all of the kids there asking for autographs and seeing their eyes shining when they were touching my medal, it just felt so good to be able to share that with them."
Girard arrived back alongside former South Surrey resident, Richard Weinberger, who also won a bronze medal in the men's open-water marathon event.
The reception was the last and final part of Girard's Olympic journey, a journey that began 10 years ago when she made the Canadian weightlifting team and later saw her carry on to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, where she missed the podium by just three kilograms.
Now, having proven herself to be the best in Canada and one of the best in the world at what she does, Girard was simply happy to be home, this time with a shiny new piece of hardware to show off.
"My friends have been following me for months and helping me through everything I had to go through, so it was really fun to be able to share that with them."
As for the post-Games life, Girard admitted it would take a while to get comfortable following such an amazing and life-changing experience.
"The life in the (Olympic) village is really different than anything else, it's like being on another planet almost," she said. "Everything is so structured and it's just really different so when you come back to your normal life it's almost as if you just had a long dream."
In terms of what the future may hold, Girard is uncertain whether or not she'll compete in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, but right now, she's looking forward to starting a new chapter in her life.
"I've been doing the sport for 17 years and right now I'm still on my little cloud so I'll make my decision in the next couple of months," she said.
"I'm actually starting a new job in September, so I'll be teaching math and science at a French school here in Surrey starting next month."
Finally, when asked if she's still wearing her medal everywhere she goes, Girard simply laughed.
"No I don't, it's too heavy."