Despite her star-making performance at the Rio Olympic Games, Canadian swimming phenom Penny Oleksiak is also a typical teenager who loves doughnuts, Drake and hanging out with friends.
Oleksiak’s family talked about how they are handling the 16-year-old’s sudden rise to the top of the athletic world on Saturday.
READ MORE: Penny Oleksiak makes history after winning gold in the 100-metre freestyle
“We’re still stunned,” said Penny’s mother, Alison. “We’re a little bit in awe of the baby of the family and what she’s achieved. I’m a little panicked on how to handle a teenager after that resume as well.”
That resume now includes an Olympic gold medal in the 100m freestyle, a silver in the 100m butterfly and two bronze, one in the 4x200m freestyle relay and another in the 4x100m freestyle relay. On Saturday night she looks to go for her fifth medal at the Rio Games, swimming in the 4×100 individual medley.
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Despite her sudden success, the fact that Oleksiak is still a teenager was a point the family was keen to make during the press conference.
“You know, she’s got two more years of high school, to be frank,” said Alison.
“We’ve been very up front with any of the coaches she’s had over the past couple of years that she is a typical teenager,” Alison said. “There’s going to be points throughout the year where she’s going to want to go to prom, she wants to hang out with her friends and she’s going to want to eat a lot of doughnuts because she loves doughnuts.”
READ MORE: Canada’s newest swimming phenom Penny Oleksiak sets Canadian record at Rio
However, a bonus for being a “typical teenager” while simultaneously becoming one of Canada’s most decorated athletes, is the chance of connecting with your pop idols.
Penny got wind of the fact that Toronto rapper Drake began following her on Instagram. The news sent her to 桑拿会所.
This is literally amazing @Drake I’m crying 😂😂 #startedfromthebottom https://t.co/eoDWVzSWvR
— Penny Oleksiak (@OleksiakPenny) August 13, 2016
Drake then responded on Instagram with a post featuring a photo of the Olympian. Underneath the caption it said, “OVOPenny aka @typicalpen we are so proud of you!! Can’t wait to see you when you are back from Rio at a show!”
Despite all of the attention, even from world famous rappers, Oleksiak’s siblings said they are going to try and keep their sister’s head firmly planted on her shoulders.
“Giving her that normality that a lot of people won’t,” said Hayley, a rower at Northeastern University. “Not blowing smoke up her butt, I guess, and kind of keeping her humble and being the same way we were before.”
WATCH: Canada’s lucky Penny shines in the pool with gold medal win
Her brother Jamie, an NHL defenceman with the Dallas Stars, acknowledges all of the attention can be a lot to handle for someone so young.
“All the attention Penny’s been getting is a lot for anybody, let alone a 16-year-old,” Jamie said. “We’ve always kind of done a good job once we’re in the household, we’re just a regular family and she’s still our sister, just our sister with some Olympic medals.”