NAME: Erica Wiebe
SPORT: Women's wrestling
YEARS ACTIVE: 2007-12
Rio 2016 Olympic gold medallist (75 kg)
2012 CW Outstanding Wrestler & Student-Athlete Community Service Award
Three-time CIS gold medallist (2009, 2011, 2012)
Two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist (2014, 2018)
A decorated international wrestler, Erica Wiebe is in elite Canadian wrestling company.
But it wasn't always easy for Wiebe, who used her time at the University of Calgary to build on her love of the sport, and grow into elite company.
Before bursting onto the international scene, Wiebe was a standout with the Dinos from 2007 to 2012. While with Calgary, Wiebe was a three-time CIS gold medallist in the 72kg division (2009, 2011, 2012) and part of three Canada West team championships (2008, 2009, 2011), along with one CIS championship team (2009).
During her final university season in 2011-12 she was also named Canada West Outstanding Wrestler and winner of the conference's Student-Athlete Community Service Award. Those accomplishments capped off her development at the university level - a place she transformed into an Olympic hopeful.
“One of the beauties of Erica Wiebe’s development in mind was she was very steadily improving. She wasn’t the most successful competitor in her early years of university, but eventually she grew into being a Canadian champion in university wrestling,” said Dinos head coach Mitch Ostberg.
“That first year at the University of Calgary, I didn’t make the varsity team. In fact I really didn’t score a single point in practice that whole year, but I had the opportunity at the end of the season to compete at the junior national championships - I went and I won," said Wiebe, who went onto use a loss at her first world juniors as more fuel on her path to Olympic champion.
After a steady progression on the international scene, Wiebe reached the top of her sport in 2016, winning gold at the Olympic Summer Games in Rio. Her win in the 75kg division, joining Tonya Verbeek and Carol Huynh as Canada's only female Olympic champions.
“I played a lot of sports as a kid, but in high school there was a sign posted outside the gymnasium door that said co-ed wrestling practice, and I was like ‘wrestling, what is this sport?’ And from that first moment I fell in love with the sport,” reflected Wiebe on her introduction to wrestling.
At the time, Wiebe's Olympic win was her third on the international scene after topping the podium at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow (75kg), and 2014 FISU World Championships (75kg). She added a fourth international gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Queensland, before capping of her remarkable four-year run with a bronze medal at the 2018 World Wrestling Championships in Budapest.
Wiebe has secured a spot at her second Olympic Games, as she looks to defend her gold at the Tokyo Olympics.
Written by Evan Daum.