Fran Kirby on her pride at making Olympics

Fran Kirby hopes to inspire future Olympians, says Fran KirbyFran Kirby, a member of Great Britain's women’s football team for the Tokyo Olympics, described her feelings as "happy, lucky, and proud".Kirby was diagnosed at the end 2019 with a heart condition. She was confined to a couch for two months, and was unable to walk. But, a remarkable turnaround followed.The Chelsea forward struggled to climb the stairs 18 months ago. She was unable to communicate and even do any kind of physical activity. She considered quitting football.It was impossible to compete at the Olympics, even though Great Britain had prepared to send a second women's football team.In March 2020, the Tokyo Games were delayed for a year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Kirby was offered another chance.Although it felt like it, she was struggling with pericarditis. This condition, which first appeared after a heart scanner, made her feel ill. She would be back playing in five months.After recovering, the 28-year old helped Chelsea win the FA Women's Super League, Continental Cup and the Champions League final. She was also awarded the Professional Footballers' Association Player of the year and Football Writers' Player of the year.Despite all these honours, Kirby was still surprised to be in Hege Riise's 18 player squad for GB. They fly out to Tokyo on Wednesday.Kirby tells BBC Sport that she knew she wasn't eligible for the 2020 Olympics. Kirby also says that he never considered Olympic selection because he was starting from scratch."I thought, "If I can play any part in Chelsea's season then great!"Kirby was a star in the Chelsea season. She scored 25 goals in all competitions, as she shined alongside Sam Kerr, an Australian striker.Kirby says, "When I received the email, it was like 'wow!'" You are going to be a part of something amazing because all the hard work you have put in has paid off.It's very funny. It's funny because my aunties believe that I'm the greatest player, no matter how well I play. So when I told them this, they said 'of course you have been selected'. It's only your family, isn’t it? They believe that you are the best.After all the hardships I've been through, everyone was so happy for me. They saw everything firsthand because I was there for them every step of the way. It was a special moment for me to be able to tell them that I was selected. My family and I were extremely proud of this moment."Last season, Sam Kerr and Fran Kerr scored 37 goals each and provided 18 assists.Kirby's life is touched by adversity.After Kirby was 14, her mother died suddenly from a brain hemorhage. This is how she formed the strong bond with her aunties.She quit football at 17 and left Reading. But she returned to Reading because she wanted to be a professional, making her mother proud.Kirby broke scoring records with the club before she scored a goal in her England debut at age 20. As the Lionesses finished third in Canada in 2015, she scored her World Cup debut goal.Kirby's family will not be able travel to Tokyo to compete in the Games. Crowds for events like football will be restricted, just as they are for other athletes.Kirby is determined to inspire the next generation after having overcome such a daunting challenge. This was just like what she experienced in London 2012 when Great Britain's first ever women's soccer team participated in the Olympics.When asked about the lack in crowds and families, she replied that "I don’t think you could take the shine off an Olympics."It's the largest sporting event in the world. It will be difficult for us as our families will not be able to watch the games, but they will be watching on TV back home and will feel like part of Team GB."I was always interested in the Olympics growing up. I watched it on TV every day, no matter if it was tennis, gymnastics, or badminton."I feel a buzz watching other people succeed. Being part of Team GB now, going into there and seeing an athlete win a gold medal, it is just motivation enough to keep you motivated to reach the same level."My highlight of London 2012, was watching the girls play at Wembley. It was amazing to see the crowd and the girls going out and it really inspired people to support women's soccer."I believe that was the turning point in women's football in this nation and I hope we can take it one more step and inspire those watching to think 'I could go and play at the Olympics as a Team GB player'."