Jeux de la Francophonie – Cote d’Ivoire 2017

It’s been a while since I’ve written an update and what better time to sit and write than on a 13hr flight to Africa, right? So here I am, en route to the Ivory Coast for the 8th Jeux de la Francophonie.

For those who don’t know, the Francophone Games occur every 4 years and celebrate French culture and heritage. It’s the largest multisport and cultural games in the world. That’s right, there are cultural events! So along with sending a number of athletes to compete at the Games we are accompanied by a number of artists, dancers, and storytellers to name a few. I’m a part of the Canada-Nouveau Brunswick delegation, as the only bilingual province in Canada we have a number of spots at the Games. There is also Team Canada and Team Canada-Quebec. This is the second Games I have been fortunate enough to compete at. I was a member of the Canada-Nouveau Brunswick team in 2013 for the Games in Nice, France as well where I won a silver medal. It was the first medal ever won in wrestling for Team Canada-Nouveau Brunswick and the only silver medal for our delegation in the 7th Games in Nice. It was an awesome accomplishment, but of course there is always room for improvement. I’m looking to improve on that performance for this games and I hope to be on the top of the podium this time around. I have grown a lot over this past quadrennial and I’m confident that my performance will reflect that. 

Of course, it’s only Wednesday and I don’t compete until Sunday so it’s going to be a busy week of training and soaking up the atmosphere of the Games and the athlete’s village. I’m hoping to have some time to write again to share my experiences of the opening ceremonies, but after that I’ll be on a social media blackout until after I’m done competing. In my next post I’ll also share links for the livestream of the event for those who want to tune in to watch. That’s all for now! But stay tuned and watch for updates on the Equipe Canada-Nouveau Brunswick social media outlets! They have a Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram account! 

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Deutschland 2017 – German Grand Prix Recap πŸ‡©πŸ‡ͺ

I’m currently on a plane back to Canada after spending two weeks in Europe. Two weeks, two tournaments, two training camps, and two medals! What a couple of weeks it’s been! 

Last week I wrote about my tournament and training in Italy, so here’s my recap on the German Grand Prix! 

I arrived in Germany last Thursday, a day before the weigh-ins. As soon as I got off the plane I headed to the training center in Dormagen to meet up with the rest of the Canadian team. From there we headed to our hotel and I went for a run with a couple of teammates. I had a snack afterwards but went to bed pretty early; despite being ajusted to the time change already, I was pretty tired from starting my travel day at 4:30am. 

I woke up on the day of weigh-ins feeling great. I had some breakfast and was ready to go. Weigh-ins weren’t until 6pm so we had some time to relax before the bus left. When we got to the venue weigh-ins went by quickly and we had supper in the dining hall before hopping back on our bus to the hotel. 

The tournament was a two day format. On the first day I wrestled three matches. My first was against Germany where I won 10-4, my quarter-final was against Poland where I won 9-0, and my semi-final match was against a fellow Canadian where I lost 3-6. This meant I was wrestling for the bronze medal against France on day two where I won 12-2. 

I was happy with how I wrestled overall at the tournament. I got to work on a lot of things I had been practicing and be successful in some of those situations. I also got to identify some areas that still need improvement. I’m happy to celebrate my successes, but I’m always trying to focus on how I can get better. 

The Canadian team did awesome and we won 7 medals overall; 5 gold, 1 silver, and 1 bronze. 

It was a lot of fun to compete with this group of women! Breanne said it best when she said how fun it was to catch up with close friends in far away places. 

After the tournament we headed to Hennef to the Sportschule for the training camp. It’s an awesome facility; the food is great, the rooms are comfortable, there’s wrestling mats and a weight room, and there was a recovery room with a sauna and tubs. Not to mention, the view was beautiful. 

The training camp had a lot of talented wrestlers and skilled training partners. Tuesday we did a lot of situations and live wrestling and it was super challenging but also really beneficial. We also did some technique and tactical practices on Monday and Wednesday along with some weight training.

 There was over 100 wrestlers from at least 15 different countries at the camp. It was great to have so many strong and successful women all in the same room training together.

On Monday Kirk treated us to traditional post-tournament pizza!! It wasn’t directly after the tournament like I usually do, but it was delicious and much appreciated! Thank you Kirk for the pizza, the car rides, the ice cream, the pictures, and for being awesome πŸ’ͺ

On Wednesday afternoon we took a train into Cologne for some sightseeing and shopping. I finally got to have ein Berliner! It was delicious πŸ‘Œ The Cathedral wasn’t bad either πŸ˜‰

Now I’m headed back to Canada for the CPA Conference in Toronto! I have a poster presentation on Saturday and I’m hoping I’m not too jetlagged πŸ˜‚ Thank you to my coaches and teammates for making this trip awesome! I can’t wait for the next adventure. 

Getting Involved and Giving Back

Being an international level athlete is super exciting and I’ve had the opportunity to travel and see a lot of the world while doing it. Often times people will say that they are jealous or that they should have joined wrestling, but they feel that they missed their chance or that it’s beyond their ability. I’m here to tell you it might not be too late!

Okay, it may be too late for you to learn how to wrestle and get yourself into the competitive shape that is required to compete at that level. BUT! It’s not too late for you to get involved. There are a couple great ways to get involved in sport that don’t require painstaking hours of training and physical prowess – officiating and coaching!! These are also two great ways to give back to the sport of wrestling after you’ve retired, and I’ll come back to that point in a bit. Here’s how you too can travel the world through involvement in sport:

First, officiating!

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Officiating is a great way to get involved in sport, especially in wrestling. We’re always looking for more officials. Becoming a referee in the sport of wrestling only requires knowledge of the rules to get you started. Although a prior knowledge of the sport is useful, it’s definitely not mandatory! You don’t need ANY prior knowledge of wrestling to get started, you can learn everything you need to know from the courses and training. There is an officials’ association for each province which are all under the umbrella of the Canadian Association of Wrestling Officials (CAWO). You can follow this link to check out more info on that, the rule book, and who to contact:

https://wrestling.ca/officials/canadian-association-of-wrestling-officials-cawo

Officials can work their way up from beginning levels to become one of our most advanced officials who get to travel with Team Canada to international events. You start out at the provincial level learning and improving through experience and mentoring from more experienced officials. As you become more confident and skilled you get graded on how well you are performing. Through this you can become a national level official. All it takes is dedication and through steady improvement you too could be travelling the world with Team Canada! You have to spend a few days on the mats officiating; but, you get to see the world, meet new friends, and have all sorts of unique and memorable experiences πŸ™‚ For my New Brunswick readers, if this sounds appealing, get in touch with Lutte New Brunswick Wrestling’s Executive Director Tom MacRae (exec@luttenbwrestling.com) or check out our Provincial Sport Organization’s website: LutteNBWrestling.com for more information.

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Officiating can be a lot of fun and it’s a great way to give back to the sport even if you are currently still an athlete. For those who have retired from the sport, this is a great way to stay involved. Myself and a few of my teammates in the Black Bears Wrestling Club referee at high school and middle school tournaments throughout the year. High school wrestlers can even get involved in officiating for the elementary and middle school season which takes place just after the high school season finishes. For me this is a great way to give back to the sport and help out at other age groups. I also have the chance to watch our younger wrestlers in the province compete and improve. It’s an awesome way to see our sport grow in the province and be a be a part of that development.

Second way you can get involved, coaching.

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Coaching the sport of wrestling requires a bit more prior knowledge of the sport than officiating does to begin with; however, that doesn’t mean you can’t still get involved in coaching if you don’t have a wrestling background. The coaching education programs for wrestling in Canada are great for teaching you about the sport and about how to be a great coach! More coaches are always welcome and needed at all age groups and levels of competition. Athletes can begin competing internationally at a young age in wrestling and getting involved in coaching can create opportunities for you and your athletes to travel the world for training camps and competitions. Just like officiating there is a provincial coaches association which falls under the Canadian coaches’ association. You can find out more about that here:

https://wrestling.ca/coaches/coach-training

And you can also look up how to become certified as a multi-sport coach through the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP). Once you have your multi-sport training completed you can look to become certified in your specific sport. Each National Sport Organisation (NSO) has its own coaching certification through NCCP to make sure its coaches are trained specifically for how to plan practices, teach technique, how to plan out a season, and so much more! Also like officiating, you can work your way up through the rankings by taking more education courses and being mentored by more experienced coaches. You can coach provincially at a club or at a middle or high school in your area. For the New Brunswick readers, check out the coaching section of LutteNBWrestling.com or contact Tom for more info. If you’re not from NB, you can check out the Wrestling Canada Lutte website by following that link a few sentences back, and there is information on each province’s Provincial Sport Organisation (PSO) website. Once you have enough experience you can apply to be a coach on an international tour. This requires a lot of knowledge and experience, but with a passion for coaching and a dedication to becoming one of the best coaches in Canada, you can be selected as a member of the Team Canada coaching staff for an international tournament.

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Fellow wrestlers, helping coach at a younger age group is a great way to give back to the sport and help with its growth and development πŸ™‚ Just like officiating, coaching is also a way for retired athletes to stay involved in the sport and help with the development of the next generation of athletes! I do not coach a specific team, but I do help with development camps and Learn-2-Wrestle clinics within the province of New Brunswick. This is a great way for me to meet all of our young up-and-coming wrestlers. I love coming to camps and seeing many eager young athletes ready to learn and improve themselves. I love being a part of that and helping our sport grow in my own little way. This weekend I was in Rexton, New Brunswick at a Learn-2-Wrestle clinic for the Novice, Kids, and Bantam age categories. I got to show some technique to beginner wrestlers and interacting with these kids is very rewarding. After the technique session they took part in a competitionΒ and the best part of my day was watching how these kids applied the technique that I taught them in their tournament. It’s great to watch the kids in our sport learn and improve and I felt very proud watching them apply what they just learned.

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So there you have it, a short snippet of information on how you too can travel the world through wrestling. I hope this helps inspire you to get involved and maybe I’ll see you in the future when we’re a part of Team Canada together πŸ™‚