THE OLYMPICS brings together athletes from all over the world and many different walks of life – but few work a day job in a supermarket.
That is, apart from Riley Day, the Australian sprinter who has funded her dream by running the aisles of her local Woolworths grocery store.Riley Day earned thousands of fans with a personal-best in the 200m semi-finals[/caption] The Aussie works part-time in a Woolworths store, helping customers such as John (left)[/caption]
The Aussie chain, which bears no relation to the defunct British retailer, wished one of their own well via social media as Day began her Tokyo 2020 quest.
Having competed in the 200-metres at the 2017 World Championships and 2018 Commonwealth Games, the 21-year-old is no stranger to the big stage.
Day qualified out of her heats in Tokyo but was reportedly physically sick afterwards, due to her huge exertion to clock in a time of 22.94.
She admitted to nerves post-race, and said: “I was trying to just remember that it is just a race.
“The Olympics isn’t going to change how fit I am, how fast I am and how well I run. If anything it can make me lift even more, so I feel a lot more relaxed now that the first run is over.”
But it was in the semi-finals where she shot to fame.
A personal-best time of 22.56 may not have been enough to earn a spot in the final, having come home fourth behind Jamaican star Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, but it stunned the Aussie for her television interview.
Day remarked on Australia’s Channel Seven: “Holy s**t! That was a much better race than this morning.
“I’ve got my groove. Now I hope it’s the fastest heat so I can get in the final. Because that is a massive PB. That’s awesome.
“I want to be the best and nothing is going to stop me from being the best.”
Day is refusing to let her humble day job dampen her dreams and, without a sponsor to plug, she urged new fans to follow her online.
She added: “I mean, if you do want to follow my journey, My Instagram is @_rileyday.
“That’s where I post most of my stuff, so. If you wanna follow along, that’s where it is.”
It certainly had the desired effect, as her following leapt by 25,000, up from 21,000, in just half an hour.
At time of writing, three days after the semi-final, Day now has a hefty 89,000 fans on Instagram.
Supporters have called for a sponsor to step in and provide Queensland native Day with better funding to hunt down a medal.
But she has reportedly vowed to stay on at Woolworths while studying for a business degree in sports management at Griffith University.
The shop wrote ahead of her race: “Our very own team member, Riley Day, is proudly representing Australia at the Tokyo Olympics. We’ll be cheering her on in the 200-meter sprint today.
“Riley is an adored team member of our Beaudesert store in regional Queensland and is known for going the extra mile for our customers.
JOIN SUN VEGAS: GET A FREE £10 BONUS WITH 100s OF GAMES TO PLAY AND NO DEPOSIT REQUIRED (Ts&Cs apply)Day impressed as she qualified from her heats in the 200m[/caption] The sprinter cheekily plugged her Instagram after the race[/caption]
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“For the past 18 months, she’s helped 90-year-old local John, who is visually impaired, with his weekly shop. She’s even memorised his grocery list and calls him on Sundays if he doesn’t turn up for his weekly shop.
“When the ambitious 21-year-old, nicknamed the Beaudesert Bullet is not replenishing stock or helping our customers, she’s working tirelessly on the track, training for at least three hours a day, six days a week.
“We’re proud to see one of our team members represent Australia on the world stage. Good luck Riley, we can’t wait to see you on the track!”
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