Australian Olympian sprinter Riley Day has caught the attention of a lot of people since her debut at the Olympic Games in Tokyo this year, admitting she worked at Aussie store Woolworths for 3 years so that she could fund the trip to the Games as the athlete was without a sponsor.
The sprinter competed in the 200m women’s event with no corporate sponsor, which a lot of athletes rely on to help them with their sport, and although the twenty-one-year-old didn’t progress to the final of her event, she ran a personal best of 22.56 seconds, the 8th fastest time for an Australian woman in the event.
She even racked up followers fast on her social media accounts as she spoke with Channel 7’s Bruce McAvaney after the event.
“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,” she said into the microphone.
“I want to be the best and nothing is going to stop me from being the best.”
And, because the athlete didn’t have anyone to sponsor her, she plugged her Instagram so that everyone watching back home could support her.
“I mean, if you do want to follow my story, my Instagram is _rileyday, that is where I post most of my stuff. So if you want to follow along, that is where it is.”
And people really did want to follow her story, with the new star tripling her following in just 2 days. Riley now has 88.7k followers on her account.
Channel 7’s Jason Richardson pointed out that the sprinter didn’t have sponsorship, hoping that someone will support her.
He said: “I’m going to embarrass you, we want Australia to start supporting you. You’re working at Woolies in the produce section. I know you do the shopping for John who’s 90 and he can’t see, and you do that every week. You’ve got a big heart, you don’t have a sponsor.
“C’mon Australia, get behind this young lady!”
And Woolworths was very proud of their employee, sharing a post on Linkedin prior to the event saying: “Proud to see one of our team members represent Australia on the world’s stage.”
“Riley is an adored team member of our Beaudesert store in regional Queensland and is known for going the extra mile for our customers. For the past 18 months, she’s helped 90-year-old local John (pictured with Riley), who is visually impaired, with his weekly shop. She’s even memorized his grocery list and calls him on Sundays if he doesn’t turn up for his weekly shop.”
Riley isn’t just a star, working tirelessly on the tracks, but a fantastic employee as well.
But a few people have been questioning why Woolworths themselves don’t sponsor the young lady.
“I have to say that I am struggling with the ethics of your post as let’s face it. It is well-publicized she had no financial support in form of sponsorship etc although I’m sure Riley is grateful for her job.
“I think for your credibility as a business, this was a damaging post. Or perhaps you have sponsored Riley in the last few days?”
But sponsor or not, the athlete is making her way into the hearts of her own nation, and the entire world!