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Erica Wiebe announces retirement from competition

March 13, 2024

Canada’s 2016 Olympic Champion ends career on her own terms and up for the next challenge

MONTREAL/OTTAWA – It is the end of a storied career for Erica Wiebe, as she has decided to retire from competition. The 2016 Olympic gold medalist has accomplished a lot in the sport of wrestling and while she is stepping away from the competition side, Wiebe has already laid the groundwork to continue working in wrestling and sport to help inspire the next generation and contribute to building a safe, inclusive, welcoming sport system in Canada.

Wiebe’s accomplishments write a resume that any wrestler would love to have: 2016 Olympic Champion, 2018 World bronze medalist, two-time Commonwealth Games Champion (2014/2018), two-time Matteo Pellicone Champion (2019/2021), two-time Poland Open Champion (2013/2018) 2014 Ivan Yarygin Champion, 2017 University World Champion, seven-time Canadian Champion, two-time Canadian Junior Champion, and 2006 Canadian Cadet Champion.

Yet as Wiebe looks back, it was what went into achieving those titles that she has the most admiration for. “Many of my fondest memories in wrestling are related to the community, the friends and role models I have in this sport. Making my first Olympic Games with a team of six incredible, equally unique women and the bond we have between us is something I cherish more than anything. I have many memories of the training camps, the challenging workouts, and the many coffee chats with my coach Paul Ragusa. I was fortunate to have won a lot of big tournaments and I think winning the 2013 Poland Open and beating the reigning Olympic Champion was probably the moment in my career where I realized I could really be something.”

While wrestling would become the sport she was known for, it was anything but an automatic choice for the athletically inclined Wiebe as a child. She remembers playing numerous sports as a kid, but it wasn’t until high school when wrestling took centre stage. “In grade nine, there was a sign posted outside the gym door for co-ed wrestling. My best friend and I joined the team and I just fell in love with the sport. It’s funny because in elementary school, the Olympics simply weren’t on my radar. When I started wrestling, women’s wrestling wasn’t even an Olympic sport. But then in grade 12, after wrestling had been added to the Games, I wrote in my yearbook, ‘London 2012.  Watch for Me.’”

The London 2012 Olympics didn’t play out exactly the way Wiebe had hoped, although she did attend the as an alternate, she would make good on her prediction at the 2016 Rio Olympics. “Ahead of those Games, I had beaten everybody in the world, but I had never done it when it mattered most. I didn’t even make the national team one year out,” remembers Wiebe. “On my day of competition, I woke up in the Olympic Village and threw up, I was so nervous. But I was also ready. I was so prepared mentally, physically, and emotionally that I didn’t care about the outcome because I was 100% in control of what I wanted, which was to have my best performance. When I won the gold, it was surreal. There I was, an Olympic champion. There is so much weight behind that. It’s a title that defines everything about me but also defines nothing about me.”

Wiebe’s is much more than an Olympic gold medallist and accomplished wrestler, something she is working to showcase as she transitions to her post-competition career. Already, Wiebe has been fortunate to get into broadcasting, coaching and work with non-profits and as well as starting a role as Manager, Athlete Relations, Safe Sport, and DEI at the Canadian Olympic Committee.

As for her broadcasting career, Wiebe says it came out of nowhere but is something she has been thankful for and enjoyed immensely. “I got a text message asking if I wanted to commentate the Senior Asian Championships in 2023 and do men’s and women’s freestyle wrestling and I said ‘yes!’ Saying yes when I had no business to has gotten me into a lot of good places in my life. I took the chance, and they asked me to come back for the Senior World Championships and it’s continued from there. I’ve stood on the shoulders of giants in my career as an athlete and never been the first in anything – thanks in part to some incredible, tenacious, successful women before me. Being the first woman to commentate men’s wrestling at the World Championships was an honour and it’s important for me that we continue to open doors for women in sport in every avenue.”

In addition to her broadcasting with United World Wrestling (UWW) Wiebe’s is doing it here in Canada as she was the voice of the 2023 Canadian Team Trials and will be back on the mic in her hometown of Ottawa for the 2024 Canadian Wrestling Championships (March 14-17) at the TD Place Arena.

For now, Wiebe is focused on these roles and how she can continue have a positive impact in the wrestling as well as the broader sport community. “I’m now working at the Canadian Olympic Committee and feel incredibly challenged and nourished by the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to the Canadian sport sector. I’m taking each day in stride and enjoying challenging myself in areas beyond the mat.”

Wrestling Canada Lutte congratulates Wiebe on a fantastic career and wishes her all the best in all of her post competition ventures. We know she will continue to be a strong voice in and for the wrestling community.

Wiebe will be honoured at the Canadian Wrestling Championships before the Junior finals on March 15.