DRIPPING SPRINGS, Texas - A Dripping Springs soccer player is bringing home the gold!
At the age of 18, Faith Wylie can now call herself a gold Olympian after she won last weekend at the 2022 Deaflympics. This year's games were held in Caxias do Sul, Brazil, marking the first time a city in Latin America hosted the games.
"Crazy. Like surreal," Faith said. "It's still like clicking in my head that like, I'm a deaf Olympian."
Wearing her gold medal with pride, Faith says it's a dream come true, one that she's had since she was 12 and one her parents supported since day one. They were both in the stands to witness her win gold in Brazil against several teams across the world over the course of two weeks.
"Oh I told everybody from here to Brazil about it," said her mom Tamara Wylie. "We told every person we came in contact with about her. My daughter won the gold medal at the Deaf Olympics."
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Faith says supporters like Dan and Melissa Martin also made this possible. "Getting that medal around my neck, I was just thinking like I did what I came here to do and that was for them. Like these people got me there, and I had to do my part to make it worth it," she said.
To thank them, she brought them a few souvenirs, including a photo of her and a game ball signed by all her teammates and with the words "I have faith" and the number 18 for her and the number 13 for the Martins' late son Chris who also had a passion for soccer.
The Martins decided to sponsor Faith in honor of their son after they saw her original story on FOX 7 Austin. The couple says getting Faith to not only play in the Deaflympics, but win gold, touched them deeply. "We consider them friends now and hope that their friendship continues to grow," Dan Martin said. "They're….they're good folks. Just good people."
Faith says she scored multiple goals during her time in Brazil, even scoring the winning penalty kick against Poland that got her the medal.
"When she hit the back of the net with that ball, I sat down and sobbed," said Tamara Wylie. "I cried like a baby because I was just so, so proud of her."
This medal isn't it for Faith, as she plans to head to South Korea next summer to do it all over again with a team she calls family.
An estimated 357 athletes from 16 countries competed in the international summer games for deaf and hard-of-hearing elite athletes in athletics, badminton, basketball, beach volleyball, cycling, football, golf, handball, judo, karate, mountain biking, orienteering, shooting, swimming, table tennis, Taekwondo, tennis, volleyball, freestyle wrestling, and Greco-Roman wrestling.