2019 Canadian Wrestling Trials champion, bronze medal winner at the 2020 Pan-American Olympic Qualifiers and Rio 2016 Alternate, Samantha Stewart began wrestling in grade 9 when her teammates on the Junior Boys Football Team suggested she try it. Since then she has become one of the brightest stars in Canadian wrestling and is one of the best at giving back to the community. Samantha is very active in giving back to the New Brunswick sport community as an Athlete Ambassador with the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame and KidSport NB. Samantha is also an RBC Olympian and delivers motivational talks spreading the Olympic messages of teamwork, excellence, commitment, and leadership to communities across New Brunswick and Atlantic Canada. Her favourite thing to eat at tournaments is pretzels and she collects magnets and pins from every country she visits.
- Who was your wrestling idol growing up? – I had a couple, but I remember starting wrestling in late fall of 2003. That first season went alright but it wasn’t until that summer, the first-time women’s wrestling was on the Olympic program and I watched Tonya Verbeek win a silver medal in Athens, that I really became a wrestler. That was hugely inspiring, watching the sport at that level on the world stage, and she was definitely a role model for a lot of young Canadian wrestlers, including me. It’s hard to be what you can’t see and having a role model like that when I was just starting out in the sport gave me a visible pathway to pursue throughout my early career.
- Do you have a pre match routine? – Besides going through our physical warm-up and revisiting the game plan for the match ahead, I tell myself before every match that I wrestle: I am strong, I am fast, I am a great wrestler, and I am ready!
- Favorite wrestling moment of your career so far? – Winning the Pan-American Championships in 2016. I had just come off a major loss in the wrestle-offs for the Rio 2016 Olympic team and I was heartbroken. Yet, I still went to compete at the continental championships a few days later and won the competition in dominating fashion. It was the first time I won a major international event and got to hear O’ Canada play as I stood atop the podium and my coach got to give me my medal. Maya Angelou said, “you may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, and how you can still come out of it.” This was a perfect example of that.
- Best event you have taken part in? – Definitely the 2018 Women’s World Cup in Japan! It’s a totally different type of event when you are competing as a team in dual meets against other nations. Seeing the amazing crowd of fans and how much the country loves and regards the sport of wrestling was very cool to be apart of. Japan is one of my favourite countries with the beautiful landscapes and architecture, the friendly and welcoming people, the rich culture, and delicious food; being able to compete there was truly an experience.
- Advice for the next generation of wrestlers? – Don’t be afraid of challenges or back down in the face of adversity. Experiencing, learning from, adapting to, and overcoming the important and inevitable hard challenges that come our way are what make us stronger. There will always be challenges and setbacks because nothing worth doing is going to be easy. However, think of harder challenges as a compliment to where you’re at and remember that it is only when we are tossed headlong into the crucible of adversity that we rise to the challenge. You find strength on the edge of failure that you might not have otherwise known you possess and that is called being resilient. So seek out challenges, overcome adversity, and thrive on your ascent to greatness.
2020-03-14 / Pan-American Olympic Qualifier / Seniors / 53 / 3
2020-02-14/ Granma y Cerro Pelado / Seniors / 53 / 1
2019-12-07 / Canadian Wrestling Trials / Seniors / 53 / 1
2019-07-12 / Yasar Dogu Ranking Series / Seniors / 55 / 3
2019-06-30 / Canada Cup / Seniors / 53 / 1
2019-01-24 / Dave Schultz Memorial / Seniors / 53 / 1
2018-09-22 / Ion Cornianu & Ladislau Simon / Seniors / 57 / 3
2018-03-17 / World Cup / Seniors / Team / 5
2017-07-24 / Jeux de la Francophonie / Seniors / 53 / 3
2017-06-04 / German Grand Prix / Seniors / 53 / 3
2017-05-27 / Sassari City Matteo Pellicone Memorial / Seniors / 53 / 1
2017-01-28 / Paris Grand Prix / Seniors / 53 / 2
2016-11-10 / Bill Farrell Memorial / Seniors / 53 / 3
2016-10-28 / World University Championships / Seniors / 53 / 2
2016-05-28 / Sassari City Matteo Pellicone Memorial / Seniors / 53 / 1
2016-02-26 / Pan-American Championships / Seniors / 55 / 1
2015-07-19 / Ion Cornianu & Ladislau Simon / Seniors / 53 / 3
2014-11-27 / Copa Brasil / Seniors / 53 / 2
2014-07-06 / World University Championships / Seniors / 55 / 3
2013-09-08 / Jeux de la Francophonie / Seniors / 55 / 2