TOKYO — Annie Guglia's time in Tokyo was brief, but that didn't stop the Montreal skateboarder from enjoying it.
After learning she'd become an Olympian only after landing in Tokyo on Saturday, the 30-year-old didn't have any unrealistic expectations heading into the women's street event. Guglia only got one chance to train at the Ariake Urban Sports Park.
"I learned with 36 hours notice that I would take part in the competition," she said after finishing 19th out of 20. "My goal was to enjoy myself and do the best I could under the circumstances."
Despite the result, Guglia said she enjoyed the experience "one hundred per cent."
"Just to be here and to become the first Canadian Olympian in skateboard (in the women's event), I can't ask for better."
Given her lack of preparation, jet lag and the time change, Guglia worried about injury, which she was able to avoid. From the stands, she was able to watch Japan's Momiji Nishiya take home the gold medal. Nishiya was following in the footsteps of her colleague Yuto Horigome, who became skateboarding's first Olympic champion.
Guglia's Olympic adventure was an unlikely one, to say the least. She had made peace with her 24th place at the Worlds in June, which kept her out of Olympic qualification. She hadn't expected the series of events that happened in the last week.
Last Wednesday, her phone rang at about 5 a.m., and she was told to urgently get her COVID-19 testing done to head to Tokyo as an alternate. When she arrived at the airport in Japan, she was in line waiting for another test when she was told another competitor had withdrawn, meaning she would get to compete.
Even though she had little time to acclimate to the course, she found it "extra."
Now she's hardly landed, and she's packing her bags to go home.
"It sucks, because of COVID I don't have time to appreciate the village," she said. "I didn't get the time to do anything else."
For now, Guglia won't reflect on her future in the sport.
"I'm taking a month of vacation when I get back and I haven't made any plans after Tokyo," said Guglia, who has yet to decide if she'll try to keep going until the Paris Olympics in 2024.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 26, 2021
Marc Delbès, The Canadian Press