Erica Wiebe Wins Olympic Gold in Wrestling for Canada
(Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) – Erica Wiebe has won the 75KG gold medal in women’s wrestling and the title of Olympic Champion at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. On a day filled with extreme highs and some disappointment for the Wrestling Canada Lutte team, Erica Wiebe has carried on the proud Wrestling Canada Lutte legacy of winning a wresting medal at every Summer Olympic Games since 1992.
To get to the gold medal match, Wiebe, of Stittsville ON, a suburb of Ottawa, had to win three bouts. Wiebe first met Selmaier of Germany and won 5-0. Currently ranked second in the world, Wiebe faced Zhang of China in the quarter-finals and won the match 5-2. In the semi-final, she beat Marzaliuk of Belarus (3-0) and guaranteed the chance to fight for gold. After the match Wiebe was overcome with excitement about the opportunity she had given herself.
“I have been very focused all day and in my matches, one match at a time and so suddenly now I won the semi-final and that meant I was going for gold,” said Wiebe. “So I now have a little time to let that sink in, relax and get ready to battle once more.”
A proud wrestling legacy exists based on the accomplishments of Canadian women’s wrestling leaders namely Tonya Verbeek (2004-silver, 2008-bronze, 2012-silver) and Carol Huyhn (2008–gold, 2012-bronze). When asked about her thoughts heading into the final, Wiebe mentioned her role-models by name.
“I am so honoured to be part of this wrestling legacy,” said Wiebe. “I have watched Tonya and Carol for the last eight years, and what they have gone through to win medals for Canada and so to be part of that and to know what it takes, I am so ready.”
In the gold medal final, the 2014 Commonwealth Games Champion Wiebe faced three-time Olympic medalist Guzel Manyurova of Kazakhstan. Wiebe had wrestled the wrestler from Kazahkhstan twice and Erica has won both matches both at the Spanish Grand Prix in 2015 and at the Poland Open three years ago. Wiebe dominated the match, winning 6-0, before being declared Olympic Champ.
“I was always prepared for it to be this hard. I knew I had it in me, but to put it all together on the one day, I went after it. I just wanted to unleash everything I put in in the last year, and make it worth it.”
Wiebe now becomes Wrestling Canada Lutte’s third Olympic Champion, joining Daniel Igali (2000) and Rio 2016 Assistant Chef de Mission, Carol Huynh (2008).
Day two of women’s wrestling also brought some disappointment for the Canadian team as two of the #6Pack were unable to progress through the competition.
In the qualification round, Tkach of the Ukraine defeated Olds, Alberta native Danielle Lappage when Lappage had to withdraw from the match from an injury that was sustained in the last few minutes of warm-up. The Wrestling Canada Lutte medical team treated Lappage with the hope that she might return through the repechage but the Ukrainian wrestler lost to Xu from China, closing that opportunity for the 2014 Commonwealth Games Champion, 2014 FISU World Champion and 2010 Junior World Champion.
Competing in the 53KG weight class, Saskatoon wrestler, 2014 World Bronze Medalist and 2014 Commonwealth Games Bronze Medalist Jillian Gallays lost her opening bout to Jong (PRK) 11-0. Jong progressed until the quarter finals where she lost 7-4 to the American wrestler Maroulis. Gallays was out and would not advance to fight in the repechage.
The wrestling competition for Canada will continue August 20, 2016 with the men’s freestyle competition at 125KG with Korey Jarvis. 65KG wrestler Haislan Garcia will then compete on August 21, 2016, the final day of competition.
For additional information on scheduling and results please visit: https://unitedworldwrestling.org/event/olympic-games .