To say Andrea Moleschi is excited wouldn’t do it justice.
The mother of Williams Lake’s Kayla Moleschi, who will compete as part of Canada’s Women’s Sevens Rugby Team at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, has been busy making all the final preparations as she, her husband, Ron, Kayla’s brother, Curtis, and his fiancee Shalynn McCauley, are getting ready to travel to Rio, Brazil to watch.
“I have an Olympian for a daughter,” Andrea said proudly Wednesday. “Who would’ve known? It’s wild.”
When Kayla shared the news with her family that she had made Canada’s Olympic team earlier this month, Andrea said she was overwhelmed with emotion.
“I cried,” she said. “She has worked so hard for this and sacrificed so much to be able to live out this dream.
“It’s been a long go at it no matter how you look at it. There are days you just want to say I’ve had enough but you continue to plow through. When she announced I just cried. When she put on that [Canadian] jacket that was one of the most amazing moments ever, other than the day she was born.”
The Moleschis are set to arrive in Rio on Aug. 5, the day before the women’s rugby competition begins.
“I’m so proud, her father’s so proud and we’re beyond ecstatic with all the community support Kayla’s received,” she said. “Everybody’s been so awesome.”
Kayla also has three grandparents — Ron’s mom and dad, who Kayla calls Baba and Papa and Andrea’s dad — who have been through thick and thin supporting her throughout her career.
“My dad is pretty stoked about it and he was just in awe at the community support from here, as well,” Andrea said. “It’s been a dream of mine to go to Rio with Kayla — I just wish my mother was here to see it but I know she’s looking down upon Kayla.”
Last Saturday, All-Ways Travel owner Sylvia Rashbrook organized a fundraising barbecue at Taylor Made Cakes and Sweets with proceeds reaching upwards of $2,500 helping Kayla in her travels.
Caren Poole Pritchard also rallied with the city to have several banners made up and hung around the city wishing Kayla good luck in Rio.
“[Sylvia] just walked up to me one day and said: ‘Is anybody doing anything for Kayla?’ She said: ‘Can I start something?’ I was flabbergasted. I was really surprised and feeling very thankful, and I know Kayla is, too.”
Andrea said one of the things that stands out to her about her daughter is how grounded Kayla has stayed through it all.
In a recent video posted by Rugby Canada Kayla was asked by a fellow teammate where she would travel to for her favourite holiday destination.
Her response was immediate: “Umm, Williams Lake, because it’s my hometown. And it’s pretty country and I really like it.”
“She’s still very down to earth and humble,” Andrea said. “When she said that, that’s when I started to cry. She’s been all over the world and she still loves Williams Lake.”
Moleschi and Canada, meanwhile, are coming off a cup title victory in France during the final leg of the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series in May.
Canada opens its tournament Aug. 6 against Japan, before taking on Brazil and England in pool play. Pool B consists of France, Spain and Kenya, while Pool A will see the U.S., Fiji and Colombia face off.