'We're thrilled': Vancouver Island rowers bring home bronze at Tokyo Olympics
A pair of Vancouver Island rowers are coming home with bronze medals for their efforts at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Caileigh Filmer and Hillary Janssens, of Victoria, took home hard-fought bronze medals in the women’s 2,000-metre pairs event.
It's just the third time that Canada has won a medal in the event, and was the first time in nearly 30 years, according to Olympics Canada.
The two previous times Canada won a medal in the event was when Marnie McBean and partner Kathleen Heddle won a gold in Barcelona in 1992, and when partners Tricia Smith and Betty Craig took home a silver in Los Angeles in 1984.
"We've had a pretty awesome day and we're just feeling so lucky to be here, and yeah, enjoying every minute," Janssens told CTV News after the race on Wednesday.
The pair say they're happy with their performance, with the partners putting in as much energy as they could throughout the race.
"It was fast, but when it's fast it's a little bit bumpy in the rowing boat because they're pretty tippy and very sensitive to what your bodies are doing," said Janssens.
"And in a tailwind it's even more precarious and you got to be really careful, but it's the Olympic finals so we didn't really want to be careful, we wanted to go hard," she said. "And we did that, and yeah, we got to the podium, so we're thrilled."
Filmer says the pair has been racing together since 2015, and the intense training and events they've competed in together has led to a close bond.
"It's hard when you're with each other all the time to hide anything that you're feeling, so it's really – you just have to be honest when you're having a good day or when you're having a bad day because there's no hiding it," said Janssens.
"We see each other at our worst and at our best and today we were able to give our best together and that's what we've been training so hard for, for so long," she said. "So we're happy that we did well today."
Filmer, 24, started rowing at the age of 13 and was born and raised in Victoria. She would go on to attend the University of California for several years before transferring to the University of Victoria.
Janssens, 27, was raised in Cloverdale, B.C. and now lives in Victoria. She's competed in two World Rowing Championships and graduated from the University of British Columbia.