The strongest metals are forged from the hottest fires.
It’s not the easy times that define a champion, it’s how you act in the face of adversity.
2015 has come to an end. It took me from Siberia to Spain and from heartbreak to happiness ultimately ending with me being one small step closer to realizing my childhood dreams.
In 2015, I reminded of the importance of excellence rather than success. To give you some back story, I went on a tear in the 2015 season and won seven international tournaments closing out the year with a 37-2 record which matched my successful 2014 season. But somewhere early in that journey I began wrestling not to lose… I was obsessed with success and I pulled off tight wins against some of the best in the world but ultimately I felt so unsatisfied and out of control of my own performance.
I was focused on success and I had lost my vision for excellence. These two are not the same thing. Excellence is something that is lasting and dependable and largely within a person’s control. Success, on the other hand, is perishable and is truly outside of our control. People who put excellence first have the patience to end up with success. I had put success first for a while and losing the 2015 Canadian National Championships was the first step in going back to the drawing board and deeply reflecting on what I want in this life and how much I truly cared about excellence on and off the mats above all else. The pursuit of excellence takes courage, innovation, and an unwavering commitment to the daily grind.
The next major step was watching the 2015 World Championships in Vegas. I finally was liberated to pursue excellence. Not sure why but watching from the bleachers was the final straw. I was ready for the next step which meant entering the Olympic Team Trials Preparation phase… We, the Dinos Women’s Wrestling sat down as a team of individuals and committed to one another to going through this process as one team. I sat down individually with my coaches and support staff here in Calgary and we committed to doing everything to prepare for each match. And I sat down with myself and committed to the journey. To waking up every morning hungry for more and willing to put it all on the line and to going to sleep every night happy with what I had done that day. The end result was that we left no stone unturned and I entered the day of the trials content with whatever was to happen that day.
Losing the Canadian National Championships was also a really cool (and harsh) way of realizing that the closest people around me didn’t care about my performance on the mats. I had defined myself by what I accomplished but for the most important people around me, winning or losing, they only care about me as a person, not my performance as a wrestler, and that was an incredible feeling. I am so blessed to be surrounded with love and support and I truly have the best friends and family. I wouldn’t do it without them. This support network includes my coaches, teammates, the IST staff, the Calgary Sport Institute staff, the Calgary and Ottawa wrestling community at large and my sponsors; John and the crew at KPMG, Nelson and his team at Genethix, Jason, Carissa, and the family at Main Dish/Fit Kitchen, Mike from Takedown, and my newest partnership, Grant and his good people from Nike Wrestling.
I am truly supported, supplemented, fed, shoed, and clothed by an incredible team of people and I CANNOT WAIT FOR WHAT 2016 HAS IN STORE!
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Erica Wiebe is a Canadian freestyle wrestler and Bachelor of Arts student at the University of Calgary. Her passion for wrestling and writing combine in the words of this blog, sprinkled with a strong opinion on certain matters and a hint of feminist thrown in for good measure.