Four wrestlers nominated to represent Team Canada at Tokyo 2020
TORONTO – Wrestling Canada Lutte and the Canadian Olympic Committee have announced Team Canada’s wrestling team nominated to compete at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The four athletes qualified for Team Canada based on their performances at the 2020 Pan American Olympic Qualification Tournament that took place from March 13 to 15 in Ottawa.
“This past year has challenged us in exceptional ways and I feel more than ever the strength of my community and my team behind me,” said Rio 2016 Olympic champion Erica Wiebe, who will compete in the women’s 76kg event. “It’s the greatest privilege in the world to compete for Team Canada and I will step onto the mats in Tokyo ready to compete.”
Danielle Lappage made her Olympic debut alongside Wiebe at Rio 2016 but was forced to forfeit after sustaining a ruptured hamstring while warming up for her opening match. Having taken the time necessary to recover physically and mentally, Lappage came back to competition in 2018 and didn’t miss the podium in any of her international events. That included a 65kg silver at the world championships.
“I have had to overcome so much to get my second chance at the Olympic Games,” said Lappage, who is qualified in the women’s 68kg event. “I am so grateful that everything has worked out and that I have been named to the Olympic team and will get the opportunity to represent Canada in Tokyo. The Games will undoubtedly be unusual and unlike any other Games in history, however, I expect the tournament to be just like any other wrestling tournament and I am so excited to compete.”
This will be the first Olympic Games for Amar Dhesi and Jordan Steen, who will compete in the men’s freestyle 125kg and 97kg events, respectively.
Steen competed at the Lima 2019 Pan American Games where he finished fifth. He won bronze in the 97kg event at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia. His father Dave is a two-time Olympian who won decathlon bronze at Seoul 1988. His mother Andrea is also an Olympian who competed in the 400m hurdles at Los Angeles 1984.
Dhesi was a world junior champion in 2014 before suffering multiple knee injuries and undergoing two reconstructive surgeries. He finished his collegiate career at Oregon State University as a three-time All-American.
Wiebe and Dhesi have been able to compete internationally in 2021. The duo each won gold at the Matteo Pellicone Tournament in Rome, Italy. Wiebe added a bronze medal at the Outstanding Ukrainian Wrestlers and Coaches Memorial tournament in Kiev, Ukraine.
Wrestling will take place from August 1 to August 7 (Days 9 to 15) at the Makuhari Messe Hall A. Canada has won 17 Olympic medals in wrestling. Canadian women have been especially successful, winning six medals since women’s wrestling was added at Athens 2004, including two silver medals and one bronze won by Tonya Verbeek who is now the head coach of the national team. The last men’s medal was the gold by Daniel Igali at Sydney 2000.
“Over the last two decades, our wrestlers have shown themselves to be champions on and off the mat and this squad fits right in that mold,” said Team Canada’s Chef de Mission Marnie McBean. “I’m so proud of how these athletes have come through this year – working on their education and communities with the same fierce dedication that they worked on their sport.”
The athletes nominated are:
- Danielle Lappage (Olds, Alta.) – Women’s freestyle 68 kg
- Erica Wiebe (Stittsville, Ont.) – Women’s freestyle 76 kg
- Jordan Steen (Tecumseh, Ont.) – Men’s freestyle 97 kg
- Amar Dhesi (Surrey, B.C.) – Men’s freestyle 125 kg
The coaches nominated are:
- Tonya Verbeek (Thorold, Ont.) – Head Coach
- Tervel Dlagnev (Sofia, Bulgaria) – Coach
- Paul Ragusa (Kingston, Ont.) – Coach
- David Zilberman (Montréal, Que.) – Coach
Prior to being named to Team Canada, all nominations are subject to approval by the Canadian Olympic Committee’s Team Selection Committee following its receipt of nominations by all National Sport Organisations.