Giant gold medal added to Burnaby's new Christine Sinclair Community Centre

Aug 6 2021, 4:46 pm

Well that didn’t take long at all.

Within hours of Team Canada’s historic gold medal win in women’s soccer at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the City of Burnaby acknowledged its hometown Olympic hero and soccer star by installing a giant “gold medal” on the exterior of the municipality’s new Christine Sinclair Community Centre.

“Earlier this year, we named this facility after Christine Sinclair in recognition of her incredible accomplishments both on and off the pitch,” said Burnaby mayor Mike Hurley.

“Today, she has added another historic achievement to her resume: she is an Olympic champion. Congratulations to Christine and all members of Team Canada. Your performance has inspired the next generation of Burnaby athletes.”

christine sinclair community centre gold medal

A giant “Tokyo 2020 gold medal” now hangs above the entrance of the Christine Sinclair Community Centre. (City of Burnaby)

Canada’s women’s soccer team defeated Sweden 3-2 in the gold medal final on penalty kicks at approximately 8:30 am PT. Vancouver’s Julia Grosso delivered the winning goal in the match.

The team reached the championship final after a semi-final win over the United States on Monday.

“I’m so proud of this team because we had a goal to change the colour of the medal, and we landed on the top of the podium. We didn’t make it easy on ourselves, but we fought and clawed and scratched our way to the top. It’s an honour to be a part of this group,” said Sinclair.

Christine Sinclair reacting to Canada’s women’s soccer gold medal victory at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. (Tokyo 2020/IOC)

Sinclair, now age 38, led the women’s soccer team to win back-to-back bronze medals at London 2012 and Rio 2016.

Canada is the only country to stand on the women’s soccer podium in each of the last three Olympics.

“To be a part of this group now standing on the top of the podium, honestly I never thought I’d be part of that group. I thought that Canada was capable of it at some point, but it happened fast,” continued Sinclair.

“We won three Olympic medals after John [Herdman] came in and changed everything for us. He changed the trajectory of the program, and I think a lot is owed to him.”

As one of the top women’s soccer players in the world, she holds the record for most goals in international play (both women’s and men’s soccer) with 187, and has 304 international caps (gamed played at the international level), ranking her fourth of all-time.

fortius vancouver titans

The exterior of the former Fortius Sport & Health facility, now known as the Christine Sinclair Community Centre. (Fortius Sports & Health)

The FIFA-standard turf pitch at the former Fortius Sport & Health facility, now known as the Christine Sinclair Community Centre. (Fortius Sports & Health)

Burnaby City Council approved the naming of the community centre after Sinclair in May 2021.

The municipal government acquired the 2013-built former Fortius Sport & Health facility in late 2020, after the not-for-profit sports organization was forced to permanently close due to financial issues from COVID-19’s impact.

The 146,000 sq ft facility on the five-acre site at Burnaby Lake Sports Complex includes a double-gymnasium, fitness studios, weight room, and a FIFA-standard turf pitch. Previously mainly used an elite training facility, the former Fortius facility also had a 50-room hotel for athletes.

The acquisition of the property for about $27 million allowed the municipal government to downsize its recreational space and vehicle parking capacity for the proposed new replacement aquatic centre and community centre immediately to the east.

Last month, a group of healthcare officials in Burnaby, backed by the Fraser Health Authority, proposed adding a 20,500 sq ft healthcare hub in the new community centre, including a primary care facility.

With files from Rob Williams and Adam Laskaris.

 

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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