At the end of May, I drove from Saskatoon to St. Catharines, ON: with my mom as my co-pilot. It was a hard 3 days in a car but we made it in one piece. My mom told me I was a slave driver because I pushed the driving as late as we could every night. I drove most of the time, mom had to be the navigator and look up hotels and gyms we could stop at along the way. This was frustrating at times because we didn’t have cell service through multiple parts of our drive and the good old fashion road maps had to come out. I wanted to make it to St. Catharines as fast as possible because I knew I did not have much time to train before heading to Europe for 2 competitions.
After only being in St. Catharines for 6 days trying to settle in, I boarded a plane to Germany. I am slowly learning it is much different flying out of Saskatoon versos Toronto. In Saskatoon it is only a 15 minutes drive to the airport and I only need to be at the airport 45 minutes to1 hour early. This is not the case in Toronto; it is minimum 1.5-hour drive with no traffic (but I have learned the hard way, Toronto traffic can be horrible!), then need to park your car and take a shuttle to the terminal, and you must be at the airport 2 hours early for a flight. I am just lucky I have elite statute and can use fast track lanes and enter the lounge. Also sometime being an elite member of Air Canada you get a complementary upgrade to first class; which is exactly what happened to me on the way to Europe. My 9-hour flight I got to sit in the pods, which if you don’t know what that means they lay flat so you can get a pretty good sleep on a plane. No complaints from me.
I am excited to say I won the Germany grand prix and now am a 2-time winner of this tournament. It was a great event with about 16 girls in my weight class. This tournament is an all girls event that is always large with a lot of great wrestling. I am excited to be apart of it. After the tournament we had a camp in Germany. It was a great facility and multiple countries stayed to train. On our day off we went to Koln, so we got to site see a little. It was a short camp because we had to get back on the bus to drive to Austria for another tournament.
Austria was a small tournament but they set it up a bit differently so I ended up wrestling 6 matches, which is great to get more experience. I wrestled well and ended up winning this event as well. I went to Austria 6 years ago and it was just as beautiful as I remember it being. We were in the town of Gotzis, which is surrounded by mountains and forest. We got lay back and relax by my favorite pool in the world. Over all this 10 day trip was filled with great wrestling and great sites and great people but I was ready to come back to Canada and settle into my new home.
I am enjoying St. Catharines weather. I have been biking most places on the non-rainy days. I am trying to live the full time athlete life. My next event is Canada Cup July 5th and then I am coming back to Saskatoon from July 10-13 for my best friends wedding. I can’t stay long because I need to prep for Common Wealth games in Scotland on July 30th.
Sorry it has been so long since I have sent my last newsletter. Quite a few exciting things have happened to me in the past few months
In January there was a vote to keep Wrestling in the Olympics, which was such a relief to find out. With this news came a lot of new rules. There are now more female weight classes in the Olympics. It went from 4 to 6 weights, which is great for female wrestling but with this development came new weight classes. The new weights are 48, 53, 58, 63, 69, 75. My old weight class 55kgs is no longer an Olympic weight and I had to make a very difficult choice to go up 3kgs or down 2kgs. My final decision was to go down to 53kgs.
Since January I have gone to Sweden, Colorado and Japan (World Cup). World cup is my favorite event because it is a dual format event; which means it is more team orientated. All of these trips helped me to figure out what weight class I wanted to move into. I hurt my knee in Colorado and had to get a small knee surgery right when I got home from Japan. I made the right choice to get the surgery at this time because it still gave me 3.5 weeks of wrestling before I had to get ready for world team trials.
This past weekend I won World team trials at 53kgs. It was a great event where I had strong competitors and had some very tough matches. It is surreal that it is all over and I ended up on top. Winning trials is going to give me a very exciting summer a head of me. I will be going to Germany, Austria, Mexico, Scotland (Common Wealth Games), Uzbekistan (Worlds). Common Wealth Games is a multi-sport event, which will have an athlete village. I hope to stay in Scotland after the event and have an opportunity to sight see.
For the biggest news of all: I am moving to St. Catharine’s, Ontario. I am very nervous and excited for the change. I will be moving into Tonya’s Basement suite. Tonya is a 3 time Olympic medalist at 55kgs. Having her close by will be so good for me. I think moving will help me grow into a better, stronger wrestler and help me take me to the next level. I have been training in St. Catharine’s for the past 10 days leading up to trials. I am so happy I had the opportunity to go stay in my new place. It is so much bigger and better then I thought. Now that it has a fresh coat of paint it feels like its mine. I will be driving my car from Saskatoon to Ontario at the end of May. It is going to be a long 3-day drive but it is going to be worth it in the end.
Now that all the excitement from worlds is over I am glad I planned a trip to Croatia for 5 days to decompress. It has been exactly what I needed. Croatia has truly beautiful National Parks, building and beaches. There is so much to see; I didn’t get to do everything I wanted but I only wanted to be stay for a short time before coming home.
I flew into Zagreb, capital of Croatia. I stayed at a hostel called ‘Chic.’ The Hostel was all purple, just my style. I was staying in the 8 people dorm and I was the only one sleeping in it due to September is the start of Croatia’s off season. I had nothing planned before getting to Croatia so I have just been winging it this whole time. I saw all of the main sights in downtown Zagreb in a 5-hour walk. The receptionist at Chic hostel told me I should go to Plivinet National Park and there was a bus leaving in the morning. I jumped on that trip. Plivinet was incredible! The waterfalls, lakes and surroundings were definitely worth a 3-hour hike.
Yes originally I booked my trip to Croatia to sit on the beach and do nothing but relax and read my book for 5 days but there are to many incredible things to see. I slowly made my way to the coast. Zadar was my next stop, were there are known for the sunset, sea organ and solar paneled lightshow. The sea organ was super cool; it made music by the crashing of the waves against the wall. It was a very beautiful way to watch a sunset.
My final stop in Croatia is three days in Split, this is where I finally got to sit on the beach and relax. When I got settled in my hostel and booked a few tours for the following days, I walked around and enjoyed the massive market. So many fruits and veggies! I did a little shopping, did a lot of eating and then sat on the beach the rest of the day.
Day two in Split I went on a boat tour of blue lagoon, Vis, _______, green caves and Hvar. This was totally worth the money!!! Blue lagoon was a cave where the sun turned the water this incredible blue color. At the green cave we saw some people jumping off the cliff and I needed to join them before we left. The tour guide stopped to boat so I could jump off the top of the cliff, it was so much fun! A few of the guys on my boat tour joined me. I met some very nice people on my boat tour and they made the trip that much more enjoyable.
On my last day there I needed to do something active, besides walking around. There were so many signs for a kayaking tour around the island of Split and it seemed like such a good idea. When I went to sign up they said I was the only one and they won’t run the tour with just me. I was pretty excited for the tour so they bent their rule and did the one on one guided tour. What great people to accommodate for me because they knew I was leaving the next day and wouldn’t have another opportunity. It was another day well spent but by the end of the 4-hour kayaking tour I was so tired and passed out on the beach for the rest of the day.
I recommend to everyone to go to Croatia! It is my new number 1 place I have been in the world. It might be because it was there off-season so there were a lot less people around and they were more accommodating but the site seeing was incredible! I will be going back to Croatia to see the parts I didn’t have time to see last time.
The last few weeks leading up to worlds were great. I had so many partners out to help me. I have to thank all of them for being there to support me. On the last practice before I left I blow out my wrestling boots out. I had an extra pair but I have never warn them before so they were hard to get used to at first. Good thing we arrived in Budapest on Sunday afternoon. I had 3 practices to get used to my new boots. The flight over went smoothly. We had a 7-hour lay over in the Chicago airport that we were prepared for. I pulled out my new wrestling boots and walked around the airport for a few hours to waste some time.
Budapest is beautiful but the weather has not been cooperating. It has been cold, windy and raining 90% of our time here. The one nice day we went on a tour of the castle district. We got to experience a little piece of Budapest. The boat tour we went on the last day we were here was a great time to decompress.
The venue set up was well organized; with all the buildings close by. The hotel rooms were pretty small so my roommate and I had to move a few things around, we both could have our own space for our luggage. The main competition venue and the weight-in venue were right across the street and very easy to move from building to building. The one challenging thing was only inconsistent Wi-Fi in the lobby and the competition venue.
The day I have been preparing for has finally arrived, it felt surreal. I was anxious, excited and ready to wrestle. My first match against France went well, I won 8-0. In my second match against Ukraine I had a tough time scoring on her. I was trying to put the pressure on to get my momentum going and I ended up getting thrown to my back and pinned. Not really the ending I was hoping for but she was a strong competitor. She lost her semi final against the Japanize who ended up winner her 11th world title in a row. I did not get to advance to the B-side. I ended up 13th in the over all rankings.
I have had an amazing season and I am so thankful for all the support. My true goal is in 2016 and it is time to think of the next chapter on how I am going to learn and grow from this experience to help me in the future. The Silver Lining is I am off to Croatia for 5 days to sit on the beach and see more of the world. What a great life.
I am just finishing up my time in Spala, Poland. The weather has been very beautiful everyday except the first night we arrived. When we arrived at the training center there was a massive lighting storm. The power was going out in certain parts of the complex. We had to run our luggage from the main registration building to our dorm room building. My one bag got soaked on the 3 minute run into the building.
The Poland Open was a sizable tournament with 20 athletes in my weight class. It was a busy day for me; I had 5 matches in 4 hours. I finished 3rd in the tournament. I lost my semi final to a Hungarian who was very strong. Hopefully I will have another opportunity to wrestle her at the world championships.
I am staying for the week for a training camp. There are 7 mats for us to practice on, with 70 girls for multiple countries training at one time. This camp has been great for me; I have over 10 athletes in my weight class staying for the camp so I have multiple partners to train with. The complex is very large, with a town walking distance away. Between each practice we have been walking to the town to pass the time. Going to the grocery store, looking through the market in the park.
On our day off we drove to Auschwitz Concentration Camp. It was an eye opening experience, were you really got to see the tragic history. The tour guild was very informative and spoke of multiple heart wrenching stories. This was an amazing one of a kind opportunity to give a true perspective on the horrors of what took place in WWII. It was challenging to get through it but I am glad team Canada wanted to pay their respects. It was an adventure trying to drive to Auschwitz; our driver got lost twice. On their way there we took an hour detour and on the way home we took a two-hour detour but we made it home safe.
Only one more day of camp in Poland then I will be coming home for my final push before worlds. All of my hard work is coming to an end sooner then I would have thought.
Here is a link that talks about equality in man and woman’s wrestling that I am very excited for. In the 2016 Olympics there will be 2 extra woman’s weight classes. We are unsure what the new weights will be but this is a start to more positive news. http://www.cbc.ca/sports/story/2013/08/09/sp-olympic-wrestling-rio-de-janeiro-international-olympic-committee.html
After Germany I came home for 5 days and left for Niagara Falls for a Save Olympic Wrestling event. This event was very exciting and different then most other events because it was a team event. We had our own team rooms and walk out songs. This event was a great way to show off our sport and it was great for team building. Team Canada won the event where we wrestled Team USA and Team Ukraine. It was hard to only be home for 5 days then leave again but I am so glad I got to be apart of the Save Olympic Wrestling movement.
I finished competing in Kazan, Russia for the FISU Games. FISU Games is the second largest sporting event in the world next to the Olympics. FISU is for University athletes up to one-year post convocation, I just so made the cut to take part in this event. The Competition venue was great. There were 8 mats for all the teams to warm up on and there were 3 competition mats on a raised platform. The only problem with the venue was it was a maze to get from room to room because all the doors between rooms were closed and everything looked the same. I wrestled Mongolia and was winning 8-6 till the last 10 seconds and she ended up scoring on me right at the very end to win the match. So it was disappointing to go all that way and to be so close for one match. I didn’t get the result I was wanting but I keep learning and becoming a better wrestler.
After the Canadian wrestling team was all done competing we had 3 days to enjoy the Village before the closing ceremonies. In the athlete village there was a food hall that was open 24 hours. It offered a wide range of food stations including Asian, Halal, Russian, European, Pasta bar, Salad bar, Pizza bar and your good old fashion McDonalds. So much to do and so little time; we watched the Canadian Rugby and Basket Ball games, went to a cirque de soleil, tour of the Kremlin. I wish there were more hours in the day to watch more Canadian teams compete but what we did get to be a apart of was great. In the Village there was a Clothing trading area where I traded my Canadian jacket for a beautiful purple Korean jacket, it was so much fun intermingling with other countries. Now I am on my way to enjoy some sight seeing in St. Petersburg before I come back to Canada.
I don’t get to talk to everyone enough so I thought I would start writing a newsletter about my wrestling to keep everyone up to date.
I won Nationals in March after working hard on my knee surgery to get back to 100%. My life has been a little bit of a roller coaster ever since then. Immediately after Nationals I went to Pan American Championships in Panama City. The accommodations were amazing. We were staying in a 5 star hotel and the tournament venue was also in the hotel. We didn’t need to wait around to be driven to the venue, very convenient. I didn’t get the result I was looking for but I am so happy to have the experience of competing for my country. After the competition was over, a teammate and I stayed an extra few days to see Panama. We went to Sand Blas Islands were we got to experience their culture and sit on beautiful beaches. The weather was prefect for me; mostly cloudy but very hot (clouds are a pale girls best friend). It was a bit of a mess because it was very challenging to book the tour and no one on the Island spoke any English. In the end every thing worked out and we had a great time in Panama.
I am in Germany right now and love how green everything is here. I wish Saskatoon would start growing all the beautiful flowers I know it can. I had a great tournament, every match I wrestled I improved. I am coming home as a Germany Grand Pre Champion. The tournament was run a little differently then normal. Normally all the wrestling is done in one day but this tournament was 2 days because there was a cadet tournament and a senior tournament running at the same time. Day 1 went very slow, team Canada sat around all morning and didn’t start wrestling till 3pm. On day 2, I only had my final to prepare for and I felt great and ready to kick some butt. My final went very well, everything seems to be coming back to me.
I am staying an extra week in Germany for a wrestling camp. Having 2 practices a day can become very challenging on the body and mind. It is always great to have so many training partners and different styles of coaches all there to help everyone get better. I love the competitive environment training camps have but it is also very rewording to have all the countries help each other. It has been raining since we got here with only brief moments of sunshine. It makes it more difficult to adventure around Germany and see all the beautiful things but we still went out and saw the town of Sarrbrichen.
Since wrestling is on the chopping block for 2020 Olympic Games, our sport is going through some rule changes. These rule changes are effective starting this week. If you would like to look at then here is the link: http://www.wrestling.ca/news/article.php?id=2317. I like the new rules, they will make everyone a little bit more offensive and more inclined creating action. I hope this makes the sport more exciting for viewers to watch wrestling.