Cassie Sharpe with gold medal skaters Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue. (Contributed)

Cassie Sharpe with gold medal skaters Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue. (Contributed)

Maple Ridge family sees Olympic gold firsthand

Aunt and uncle of Comox’s Cassie Sharpe in PyeongChang

Winning a 2018 Winter Olympics gold medal is both an international event and family affair.

Comox resident Cassie Sharpe’s aunt and uncle, Duane and Trish Sharpe, from Maple Ridge, were in South Korea last week, part of about 10 family members, to watch Cassie, along with the rest of the world, take top spot in women’s ski halfpipe.

“We’ve had so much support from a lot of people … in Maple Ridge and across Canada,” said Duane, who lives in Albion.

After winning, Cassie was deluged with media requests and events. She now has 250,000 followers on her Instagram account.

“She was kind of swept off her feet for 12 to 16 hours of interviews. The media attention was overwhelming,” Duane said.

After the Games, she’s going to Toronto for more such events.

“It’s a life-changing moment for her.”

Duane said there were high expectations for Cassie going into the Games. She had won bronze at the X Games in Colorado earlier in the year and was ranked first or second in the world.

On her first run in PyeongChang, Cassie scored 94.40, then followed it with a second run of 95.8, keeping her in first for the whole event.

“She really set the town for the event.”

She held on to her ranking throughout the competition to take the gold medal.

“Very emotional for all of us,” said Duane.

He and Trish stayed until after the closing ceremonies Sunday.

“The people have been wonderful since we got to the airport. It’s been very safe. We haven’t felt any trepidation going anywhere or travelling anywhere.”