Alberta parents proud to see daughter win Olympic gold

Bev and Gerry Labbé spent Friday morning screaming as they watched their daughter, Stephanie Labbé, and her teammates on the Canadian women’s soccer team become Olympic gold medallists. 

In a tense penalty kick shootout, Edmonton-born Labbé stopped Sweden’s last attempt before teammate Julia Grosso scored the game-winning goal.

Labbé’s parents, who live on an acreage north of Stony Plain, Alta., watched the game with family at their son Kevin’s house.

“My daughter-in-law says she doesn’t think I breathed through the whole thing,” mother Bev Labbé said in an interview with CBC Edmonton’s Radio Active on Friday.

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Gerry Labbé said he is exhausted but feels a sense of accomplishment for his daughter and pride as her father.

“I guess it’s a bit surreal because we’re not there,” he said. “We watched this through a TV lens, so it’s a little bit different but still an incredible experience.”

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The family was able to speak with their daughter for a few minutes when she called from the field after the medal ceremony.

Gerry Labbé said his daughter started goalkeeping as a preteen because a team she was trying out for in the nearby city of Spruce Grove needed a goalie.

“She raised her hand and away she went,” he said.

Stephanie Labbé shows off her new Olympic gold medal to her family in a video call after the medal ceremony. (Submitted by Bev Labbé)

According to Dave Oldham, her soccer coach at Spruce Grove Composite High School, Labbé’s talent was easy to spot. She was on his radar even before she entered high school.

“You could tell from the way she carried herself on the field, her leadership skills and, of course, what she did in the net,” he told CBC on Thursday.

Selenia Iacchelli, a friend of Labbé’s and a former national teammate, said on Thursday she was proud of her passion and grit. 

Labbé has spoken publicly about her experiences with depression and told CBC Sports she battled nerves and anxiety before the big game.

“She’s been through so many ups and downs and this is exactly where she deserves to be,” Iacchelli said.

Labbé, 34, now has two Olympic medals; she brought home a bronze from the 2016 Rio Games.

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