Canadian Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler Wiebe retires

Canada's Erica Wiebe celebrates after winning the gold medal in the women's 75-kilogram freestyle wrestling competition at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. (Ryan Remiorz/CP)

Wrestler Erica Wiebe, who won a gold medal for Canada at the 2016 Olympics, announced her retirement from competition on Wednesday. 

Wiebe claimed gold in the women’s 75-kilogram weight class, defeating Kazakhstan’s Guzel Manyurova in the final, at the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The 34-year-old from Stittsville, Ont., also won the bronze medal at the 2018 world championships and was a two-time Commonwealth Games champion.

“Many of my fondest memories in wrestling are related to the community, the friends and role models I have in this sport,” Wiebe said in a statement. “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.”

Wiebe will remain active in the sport as a broadcaster, coach, and administrator. She currently serves as manager of athlete relations, safe sport, and diversity, equity and inclusion for the Canadian Olympic Committee.

“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,” Wiebe added. “I’m taking each day in stride and enjoying challenging myself in areas beyond the mat.”

In addition to broadcasting with United World Wrestling, Wiebe was the voice of the 2023 Canadian team trials and will be back on the microphone in Ottawa for the national wrestling championships from Thursday to Sunday at TD Place.

She played numerous sports as a kid but didn’t take up wrestling until grade 9 when she stumbled upon a sign for coed wrestling outside her school’s gym.

“I just fell in love with the sport. It’s funny because in elementary school, the Olympics simply weren’t on my radar,” Wiebe said. “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.’”

Wiebe attended the London Games as an alternate before going on to win gold in 2016. She finished 11th at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Her gold is one of three that Canada has ever won in wrestling at the Olympics, along with Daniel Igali in 2000 in the men’s 69-kg division and Carol Huynh in 2008 in the women’s 48-kg weight class.

Wiebe will be honoured before the junior finals of the national championships on Friday.

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