Fri, September 20, 2013

Soccer star Sinclair eager to return to friends and family

By MICHAEL MUI, QMI Agency


Christine Sinclair poses for a photo at Canada house with the Canadian flag, Twitter has been abuzz with support for Sinclair the star of the women's bronze medal soccer team to carry the Canadian flag into the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic games. Saturday August 11, 2012. (AL CHAREST/QMI AGENCY)


VANCOUVER - A getaway to the family cabin in Sechelt, B.C., a barbecue with loved ones and a cruise in her freshly waxed Volkswagen await Burnaby, B.C., Olympian Christine Sinclair when she touches down at Vancouver airport Monday morning.

The national women’s soccer team captain and star striker had her family at top of mind Sunday on the day of her final farewells in London, recognizing their staunch loyalty just hours before she bore the Canadian flag at 2012 Olympic closing ceremonies.

“Thank you for the support, over the years, through the good times and the bad times with the national team, they’ve always been behind me. Just a huge thank you,” the 29-year-old said in a teleconference from London.

“This past couple of days have been very hectic, so I actually wasn’t able to speak to (my family) too often. But they’re so proud and so happy, and can’t wait for me to come home.”

Sinclair, whose steely nerve and agile footwork on the playing field led to her Olympic tournament record of six goals, admitted to being scared of tripping up during the closing ceremonies.

“I’m hoping I can walk and not trip, but I’m pretty confident I can do it,” Sinclair said.

Some of her fancy footwork included a stunning hat trick in Canada’s controversial 4-3 semifinal loss to the United States, which sparked a subsequent FIFA investigation into critical comments about the referee made by Sinclair and her team.

Suggestions soccer’s ruling body might suspend Canadian players from the bronze-medal match against France never materialized, but the allegations of “unfair” officiating bought sympathy from like-minded Canadian fans.

Undoubtedly, Sinclair’s newfound legions of supporters as well as family are expected at Vancouver airport 11 a.m. Monday for her homecoming.

“We’re all getting out to the airport, after that we’re going to go down to her grandma and grandpa’s house. We’re going to have a family get-together, barbecue and just hang out and get pictures with that bronze medal,” uncle Ken Jensen said in a telephone interview Sunday.

Jensen spent the weekend cleaning and waxing his niece’s Volkswagen, which had been parked and “collecting dust” outside his home for safekeeping, as a small token of the family’s love.

“That’s the least I can do for her,” he said.

There are also plans for Sinclair to “sneak away for a couple of days” to the family’s cabin on the Sunshine Coast.

Garbed in Canadian denim, Sinclair smiled ear-to-ear during the Olympic closing ceremonies — perhaps about her imminent family reunion, maybe about her medal performance or the honour of carrying her country’s flag — and she didn’t miss a step.