VICTORIA Tachinski has imagined what it would feel like to stand atop the podium at the Canada Games with a gold medal around her neck for quite some time.

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VICTORIA Tachinski has imagined what it would feel like to stand atop the podium at the Canada Games with a gold medal around her neck for quite some time.

Thursday afternoon at the University of Manitoba Stadium, Tachinski’s dream became a reality. The Winnipeg track star won gold in the women’s 400 metre race with a time of 54.04 seconds — becoming the first Team Manitoba athlete to win a gold medal at the 2017 Canada Games. Quebec’s Audrey Jackson finished right behind her at 54.29 seconds and Katrina Innanen of Ontario won bronze with a time of 54.44.

"I’d always get overwhelmed when I would picture that moment (of winning a Canada Games gold medal). The fact it actually happened is amazing, extraordinary and surreal," said Tachinski.

She says having her entire family, her best friends, former teachers and coaches on hand to witness the race makes it even more special.

"It just makes me so proud. Competing at home, being able to have a home crowd and have my friends and family come out, it’s been amazing and so supportive for myself," said the 18-year old.

It’s been an incredible summer for Tachinski. She graduated from Vincent Massey and was named the Manitoba High School Sports Athletic Association Female Athlete of the Year and then two weeks ago, she represented Canada in Peru at the Under-20 Pan American Championships where she won a gold and silver medal.

"This has been the best two weeks of my life. It’s been super hectic and super busy. I’ve been all over the place, but I’m doing what I love. I’m running and competing — it’s my favourite thing ever," she said.

Tachinski winning gold was no surprise — she was expected by many to win gold for Manitoba. The stands were full for her race and there was a large crowd of people at the finish line watching her every move and waiting to see if she would be the one to win gold for the province. That’s a lot of pressure for an 18-year old who just graduated from high school, but Tachinski says the pressure makes her even better.

"I feel it was a good pressure. It was a pressure that got me really motivated and hungry to want the win," said Tachinski.

Tachinski says out of all her accomplishments, winning Canada Games gold is near the top of her list. She says winning gold at the Under-20 Pan American Championships was a special moment for her for different reasons, but winning Games gold in her hometown will always have a "special place" in her heart.

Tachinski will be heading to Penn State University next week on a track scholarship, but before she does that, she has two more races on home soil. She has an opportunity to win a couple more Canada Games medals, as she’s racing in the 800 metre final today at 3:30 p.m. and the 4x400 metre final at 7:30 p.m.

taylor.allen@freepress.mb.caTwitter: @TaylorAllen31

Taylor Allen

Taylor Allen

Eighteen years old and still in high school, Taylor got his start with the Free Press on June 1, 2011. Well, sort of...