Biography:

Jillian Gallays is no stranger to overcoming adversity. Diagnosed with dyslexia at a young age, the learning disability made her even more determined to fight for the things she wanted in life and to never give up. That attitude has helped her persevere through numerous injuries. After her fifth place finish at the 2006 World Junior Championships, she underwent her first knee surgery on her left ACL that October. She missed almost all of 2012 after surgery on her right ACL in April. Another surgery followed in March 2014 on the meniscus in her left knee, but she was able to compete that year and achieve a couple of career highlights: a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games and a bronze medal at the UWW World Championships. She also scored victories at the Grand Prix of Germany, the Austrian Ladies Open and the Canada Cup. In January 2015 she suffered a second degree tear in her right LCL. That August, she endured another surgery on her left meniscus and torn MCL, which occurred at a training camp when, in a stroke of luck, another group fell on her in warmup. Unable to compete at the national trials in December, she was granted a wrestle-off in February, which she won to earn a trip to the Pan American Olympic qualifier where she went undefeated to secure a spot in Rio to keep her Olympic dream alive.

Getting to know…

Family: Parents John Gallays and Karen Johb… Older sister April… Getting into the Sport: Started wrestling in grade 9… Tried everything in high school but stuck with wrestling because it was the most challenging… Sport helped her stay positive in school amid struggles in the classroom… Outside Interests: Enjoys working out, reading, dancing, playing board games, rock climbing… Graduated from the University of Saskatchewan in 2011 with a degree in Kinesiology… Would like to return to school after Rio 2016 to pursue her MBA… Odds and Ends: Inspired by Tonya Verbeek because she trained hard and truly loved the sport; has lived in Verbeek’s basement apartment since moving to St. Catharines for training… Favourite motto: Train harder so you can play harder…