Well today I wrestled in the finals of the German Grand Prix and had a convincng win against Estonia 5-1. This is the athlete who I lost to at the World Championships last year.
It was tough preparing to stand across from her once again, to relive that heartbreak especially with some fresh, uprepared-for winds in this road.
Last week in Greece I still didn't quite have my head screwed on right and I left my silver medal in the room when we packed up and left the Olympic Academy dorms where we were staying.
Everything about the trip had been picturesque and perfect. We would run everyday on the road beside the ancient Olympic track. It doesnt get much better than that. But I stepped onto the mats and I still didnt quite have it.
For so long I had been so unsastisfied with my wrestling. I remember when I won the University World Championships I had to force myself to smile because I was upset with my performance.
One thing I am working on this trip and especially this past weekend, is to remember to smile and to rejoice in each moment.
We had a two day tournament in Germany and so I weighed in on Friday and saw my draw that night. I had picked #2 which meant i was at the top of the bracket; with the other two Russians, and a whole whack of other tough girls from Eastern Europe. For some reason a lot of the good heavyweights come from Eastern Europe (and no, unfortunately they do not all have unibrows. Most are quite awesome people). I ended up wrestling the two Russians again in he quarter and semi-finals and wrestled with some spunk I had been missing for awhile. I had two big 4-point takedowns in my semi-final that I was pretty proud of!
This set me up for a final the next day. The one major problem with being a heavyweight wrestler is that my final is always last so I miss so many exciting finals but don't get my wrong, I do prefer to participate rather than observe.
I was so nervous heading into that match that I mustve done a hundred sprints to try to loosen up my boody. I wrestled a sharp tactical match at the beginning and built off an early lead.
I finished the match trying to brush away the dissapointment of not executing my game plan as well as I would have liked. I'm still trying to find that fine balance between always being hungry for more and being confident in my abilities and just going after it without any fear.
It is a long road ahead and I am continually moving forward, stumbling everyonce in a while, but always progressing towards my goal.
That work starts tomorrow!! I have chosen to stay in Germany for a couple days extra and take in the training camp in Hennef. It is a great camp with over 90 female wrestlers so I will have lots of fresh meat to work with. Unfortunately I am the only Canadian who is staying...Now you know why this blog post is so long...
This also means I will most likely write an update sooner rather than later in my boredom...
I have already finished off the stash of Milka chocolate bars that were supposed to get me through the week... What to do next?!
A select group of the Canadian national team gathered together last week in Montreal for our annual TOPS camp. It is an off-mat camp where we do a whole whack of physiological testing, in-class information sessions, as well as get in a little team bonding away from the focused, intensive atmosphere of camps and competitions.
I was in a very different space this year compared to the past TOPS camps as I am not preparing for the Pan Am Games nor the World Championships later on this Summer.
I was apprehensive walking into camp this year, still coming to terms with this new position and still trying to find the silver lining.
At the end of the week however, I walked away rejuvenated and with a new intentionality leading into the next couple months.
At the end of the week we got the results back of our physiological testing and we were introduced to a new technical analysis system we will be using. We are continually moving forward as a National Team to address all the small gaps that together can make the difference.
I am so excited by the gaps in my wrestling, on and off the mats, because it gives me a new direction to focus in on and I have already developed into some short term goals I want to accomplish.
Over the long term, this Summer schedule will allow me to address all the areas in which I need to improve and to be ready to wrestle how I want to wrestle in December, at the Canadian Olympic team selection tournament which will be held in Strathcona just outside of Edmonton, Canada.
In one week, I head off to Greece for the first international tournament of the Summer where I will compete on the historic grounds where my beautiful sport all began in Olympia. We then head to Germany where we will be training for a week and then competing at the Dormagen Grand Prix. I have opted to stay an extra week longer after the tournament to get in another week of training camp in beautiful Hennef. a sportschule just outside of Cologne, Germany.
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.