Hello to all of my blog followers. I have not made an entry since last year's Senior World Championships, and it is almost that time again! Some of our Canadian Men's Team has already arrived in Budapest in preparation for the Senior World Championships. Our Women's team have a couple more workouts before we jump on our plane over to Europe. It is a very exciting time!
The decision this past week to have wrestling remain in the Olympic Program for 2020 and 2024 was no small news, neither was the change to 6 weight classes at the Olympic Games. I could do an entire blog on the drama of the last seven months... but instead I will simply say, it was a long and tiring battle. The world came together and united around our sport like never before! At the forefront of the battle was Canadian Wrestling! We were part of the decision making process in creating new rules, we held a special event at Niagara Falls where our Women's team took on The USA and Ukraine (current European Champs) to promote our great sport as part of International Wrestling month. Our Save Olympic Wrestling Committee worked closely and strategically with the USA, and many other partners to lobby, defend, and promote our sport to the IOC and the World! The final Fila Presentation to the IOC was, in my opinion, Canada's Greatest contribution to the sport of Wrestling. Two of our beloved stars and Olympic Champions, Carol Huynh and Daniel Igali, opened up their hearts and helped win a positive decision for Wrestling and for a future generation of athletes. I expect the energy at the World Championships next week will be unbelievable because of this! Carol Huynh is set to be inducted into the Fila International Hall of Fame, I could not be more proud of her, or Canadian Wrestling!
In the next ten days I will commit once again to blogging regularly for those interested in following our World Championships adventures. I also have created a pretty good relationship with Andy Ross and 49 North Wrestling (Canada's BEST Wrestling source) and I will be sending some video clips back to him from Budapest. Sights and sounds, training insights, short interviews (where possible). Hopefully this will be better than just my random ramblings! But to be honest I am astonished with the dedication I see from the wresting community. This little blog had tonnes of hits last summer and thousands for each Worlds. So I figure there is a strong desire to keep people in the loop, I will do my best!
Where to start...
I will start by summarizing our programs hight lights from last year.
In 2012, our Women's program had 12 World and Olympic Medals! We had podium performances on every major level (Cadet Worlds, Junior Worlds, University Worlds, Senior Worlds, and The Olympic Games). It was a completely exhausting and emotional year, and one I will not soon forget!
The end of one Olympic Cycle signals the start of a new one. There is NO break, NO down time for the program. It was an incredibly busy and intense fall with program debriefs, meetings with Own the Podium and other partners, and creating our Wrestling Canada - Rio 2016 Plan.
On the women's side some major changes in the make up of the National Team have left us with some pretty big shoes to fill. The retirement of Carol Huynh, and Tonya Verbeek, and the breaks taken by Martine Dugrenier, and Ohenewa Akuffo meant that we had a great deal of work and focus ahead of us! These four athletes have dozens of World Championships experience between them. This important experience will need to be built with our current team moving forward. I am confident that our current program and team will continue to carry the pride and tradition of excellence onto the mat with every match. One more exciting note is wrestling Canada has added the experience and passion of Tonya Verbeek and Gia Siassouri to our professional coaching staff (together I believe they hold 10 Senior World and Olympic Medals). We also have many of our other top senior athletes becoming very involved in coaching in their respective regions (Huyhn, Dugrenier, Buydens - just to name a few).
Strategically, I have planned for this summer to be the busiest in the history of the program. Early in the 2016 quad I hope to amass a large amount of competition and training camp experiences for our developing team members. While we still have some very solid veteran performers in the program, I hope that many of the up and coming athletes will benefit from lots of top level experience. This will be crucial in helping to pinpoint the areas (technical, physical, and mental) that they need to improve to be the best. In the last six months our team members have competed in: Mongolia, Panama, Germany, Austria, Niagara Falls, Italy, Spain, Russia, Poland, Bulgaria, France. We have attended six international camps at these events!
The great news is our Women have had MANY strong individual and team performances this summer. Too numerous to mention really... As a program our goal is to never underestimate ourselves and to never overestimate our opponents!!!
Well, I will stop there for now, I just wanted to provide an update and get my blog rolling again! I hope you are as excited as I am for the upcoming Senior Worlds! I will fill in the details with each additional entry....
Yesterday I had a great conversation with a good friend and coaching colleague. He was asking me questions about the program and how we do certain things at Wrestling Canada. Please feel free to send me questions or topics you would like addressed either personally or on the blog... again I will do my best to provide some insight.
All for now....