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Apollo Hess, Indigenous swimmer, to take on 2024 Summer Olympics

Apollo Hess qualifies for the Summer 2024 Paris Olympics. (Instagram / Apollo Hess) Apollo Hess qualifies for the Summer 2024 Paris Olympics. (Instagram / Apollo Hess)
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Getting the call that changes your life can feel like time stops in its track. For one small-town Alberta man, a dream he has been training for since he was a child is coming true and it will take him and his team overseas.

Apollo Hess, 21, is joining the Olympic swim team and is training for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris this July. Upon receiving the news, he said emotions broke loose.

"I just kinda broke down and started crying," Hess said. "This is like a life long dream of mine and like last week it was such a roller coaster emotionally."

His mom, Ingrid Hess, couldn’t be prouder.

"My heart just burst when I heard he was going. He got to phone me before it was officially announced," she said. "He was in tears. I could tell over the phone and so was I.”

He said his love of swimming began at the young age of six, adding he was involved in other sports, but it wasn’t until he was 13 that his passion for swimming took over.

"I suffered a series of pretty bad concussions from football and hockey, and I kinda made a decision when I was 13 to stray away from those kind of contact sports."

Hess said the year was hard both personally and professionally, but he kept going.

"It’s hard to see the end of the tunnel sometimes so this year was definitely not a fun vacation, even though it kind of seems like that, but I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world,” he said.

Nathan White, associate director of communications for Swimming Canada said while the best of the best join the Olympic team, they encourage the youth to try the sport.

"Maybe some kid who’s inspired this summer will be an Olympian, four, eight, 12, 16 years down the road," said White.

With what he has accomplished, Hess has also made history for Kainai First Nation.

"I’m told he’s the first member of the Blood Tribe to ever make the Olympics, so that feels like something really monumental and I feel like the whole community is celebrating," his mother said.

Hess reflected on his journey that lead up to this moment in his life.

"It makes it so much more worth it in the end when you can show all these people who are just like you that you can do it and you can make your dreams come true if you just keep working and believing in yourself," said Hess.

Before Hess leaves for Paris, he has a trip planned to celebrate with his family back home. They will join to support him during his competition in Paris. 

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