I am so lucky that since I began representing Canada at an international level oh say, eight years ago my summers have been increasingly dominated by travel to exotic locations, amazing memories with great teammates & coaches, and of course, (more so lately) kicking ass!
My first summer on the Junior World Team I remember hustling across town making two jobs, waking up at the crack of dawn for morning work-outs and practice at night. I worked maintenance on campus and served at Earl's in the evenings and on weekends. The constant blur of my summer was dictated by footwear, going from runners to steel-toed boots to heels and back but of course, I was happiest with my wrestling boots wherever in the world they took me.
Now six years later my summer has started the same way, with an amazing training camp and competition in Germany & Austria which has set the tone for the months ahead. My summer competition schedule is tightly-packed with major events and for one of the first times in my life I will be putting aside all other major commitments and focusing 100% on wrestling. In the past while competing, I have attended university full-time, or worked and most often juggled all three. This summer I have decided to cool things off a little and give myself the time to really dedicate myself to becoming the best wrestler I can be. The new FILA rankings have me down at #2 in the world and I feel I have the ability to turn some more heads at the big competitions down the line.
Over the next three months I will have three major competitions. First up is the University World Championships in Pecs, Hungary. Then at the end of July I will be competing at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. Finally my 'summer' wraps up in Tashkent, Uzbekistan at the Senior World Championships.
As far as a day-to-day schedule goes, I have trimmed down many of my 'hard' commitments but love keeping busy volunteering at various events, reading & blogging and connecting with old & new friends. Me & my partner recently moved into a new house and we are in full-swing of reno's which is also adding a little something-something to the days.
All in all, it's going to be a great summer and I'm so excited to step out onto the mats and represent this great country!!!
I shared a little on my facebook page about my excitement heading to Gotzis, Austria tomorrow. It is an opportunity to take a little trip down memory lane...I'll explain more as we get into things.
But before I begin I'll update you guys on the past weekend! I wrestled in Dormagen, Germany at the German Grand Prix. Traditionally this has been a tough tournament and this year was no different. The Canadians brought our senior, junior, and cadet national teams which encompassed over 30 athletes ranging in age from 15-32!
We wrestled the two day tournament through the blistering German heat and I ended up taking home the top prize beating Marzaliuk from Belarus in the finals. It was a close match and I wasn't too content with how I wrestled but only up from here!! Luckily we shipped off to the Sportschule in Hennef where we are having a great camp with several different countries.
Typically we do two sessions on the mats each day and try and recover and rest inbetween sessions. I have learned as I mature in the sport that the rest and recovery in key to make it through the sessions in both body and mind! I try not to nap but I am re-visiting an old friend by re-reading the Game of Thrones series which is always entertaining... and sometimes sad as we all know how well our favourite characters fare in the novel!
As I mentioned, tomorrow we board the bus and head off to Gotzis, Austria. I will be celebrating my 25th birthday on weigh-in day and it is a funny full circle of my journey as that is the place where my whole internationally wrestling career started. I competed with the Cadet team in Austria and marked my 17th birthday in that beautiful little town. It was there I discovered first hand the thrill of international wrestling, the puzzle of different styles each country owns, and the tightknit bonds that were forged forever. I met my best friend and current 48kg World Team member Jasmine Mian on that trip... for some reason they thought it would be a good idea to bunk the biggest and littlest athletes together and that was the moment our unlikely friendship first took off. We were both 16, young, naïve, carefree girls who loved wrestling and adventure. We're still those people except a little bit older and I would like to say wiser but there's some people such as my coach Leigh Vierling who may disagree!!
Speaking of coaches, this camp here in Hennef has just been spectacular. I have had the opportunity to wrestle some great people but also really focus on improving specific technical aspects of my wrestling. We always debrief back in the room during down time and I remember telling my roomies Jasmine and Jill that I really felt like today I became a better wrestler. That is something I want to continue to pursue for a couple more years to come!
I apologize! Turns out I had a lot of random ideas to share with you guys today and I seem to have rambled on! I will send out a blog as an update after the tournament in Austria but please stay tuned to my athlete facebook page and twitter for more current happenings!
Here is a FILA wrestling article about the weekend's tournament where I get a pretty nice shout out!
Have a Wonderful Day,
Yesterday I spent the day at St. Patricks high school in Ottawa running a clinic for the National Capital Wrestling Club. It was a great event that brought wrestlers from all over the city of Ottawa and as far as Renfrew to spend the day becoming better wrestlers.
We had a morning session for kids, and then two 2hour sessions for the high school aged athletes. I was so lucky to be joined by my amazing teammate Dori Yeats! In between the wrestling sessions we did a little lunch and listen exercise where me and Dori talked about our experiences representing Canada and some of the tough experiences we faced along the way. There were some great questions from the group.
I was so impressed by the kids who are coming out and putting in huge work. I know wrestling car at times be a long, lonely journey with little glory at the end of it. But connecting with my old club and feeling their joy and support is a key reason why I am able to do what I do.
We talked a lot about goals and how we all dream to stand on top of the podium. Undeniably, there are a lot of perks that come with winning but there is just as much if not more honour in simply engaging full heartedly in that pursuit of excellence.
I hope everyone who attended the camp felt inspired to continue pursuing whatever is their dream with the fullness of their heart! It's worth it.
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.