Perdita Felicien is the biggest star to hit Canadian track and field since Donovan Bailey began to dominate the men's sprint in the mid-1990's.
She landed on the Canadian sports scene like a ton of bricks in August 2003 when she won the gold medal in the women's 100-metre hurdles at the world outdoor championships in Paris. She was the first Canadian female to win a world track title.
Just a few months later she took the indoor world crown in the 60 hurdles beating her American idol Gail Devers. It was also the first time a Canadian woman savored gold at an indoor worlds. She also set both the outdoor and indoor national records at those respective worlds.
For her exploits in Paris she was named Canada's female athlete of the year by the Canadian media, the first female track athlete to win the award since Diane Jones in 1978.
Now the women's 100 hurdles at the Athens Olympics will be one of the most anticipated events for Canadians at the Games.
Before Paris, Felicien showed she was a rising force. In the spring of 2003 she became only the third woman to win back-to-back NCAA crowns in the 100 hurdles. Thar made her the most decorated collegiate athlete from the University of Illinois in women's track and field history.
She is finishing her kinesiology degree at Illinois this year.
At the Pan Am Games, just a few days before the worlds, she finished second to Jamaica's Brigitte Foster, the women she would beat out for the gold in Paris.
Felicien was late to the sport, joining track in Grade 11 at Pine Ridge Secondary in Pickering.
She was recruited by Illinois when head coach Gary Winckler - still her coach today - spotted something special in the 5'4" hurdler.
Felicien turned pro after the world championships, forgoing her final indoor season with the Fighting Illini, but enabling her to accept the $60,000 US she earned for winning the world title. She added $40,000 for her win in Budapest.
Since then, demands on her time have been great. She's appeared on the CBC's Royal Canadian Air Farce, received the key to the city in Pickering, signed autographs for fans at the local mall and obliged countless media interviews.
She recently signed a lucrative sponsorship deal with Nike, with other deals in the works.