Six wrestling athletes will represent Team Canada at Paris 2024 – Team Canada

May 28, 2024


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Team Canada will send a strong contingent of six wrestlers to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Only one of them, Amar Dhesi, already has Olympic experience under his belt. However, the Canadian team is made up of a large number of champion athletes on both the world and continental levels.

The most decorated team member is Justina Di Stasio, who has been a world champion (2018), Pan American Games champion (2019) and Commonwealth Games champion (2022), in addition to having collected numerous other medals in international competitions. Even though his name is well known on the international circuit, Di Stasio will be at his first Olympic Games in Paris this summer.

A country can only qualify one athlete in wrestling per weight category and for the last two editions of the Olympic Games, it was Erica Wiebe who won the Canadian trials in Di Stasio’s category – which gave her helped her win Olympic gold at Rio 2016. Di Stasio will look to take her wealth of experience and resilience to Paris 2024, where she will compete in the women’s category. 76 kg.

Justina Di Stasio celebrates with the Canadian flag.
Justina Di Stasio reacts after winning the final of the women’s 65 kg category at the World Wrestling Championships in Budapest, Hungary, Wednesday, October 24, 2018. (Balazs Czagany/MTI via AP)

“I’ve been working on this for so long and wanted to be in this position. I told myself that I was ready to do anything to win today and throughout my training, I reminded myself that I was ready to do everything to qualify for the Olympics,” said Di Stasio after winning his place at the Olympic Games at the beginning of March, during the Pan American qualifying tournament.

Ana Godinez Gonzalez is also a former world champion, who won gold at the Under-23 World Championships in 2021. Godinez Gonzalez started wrestling relatively late in life, only engaging in it from ‘secondary school. She rose to prominence in 2019, when she was finally able to represent Canada, having been born in Mexico, the country her family had fled when she was a child. She is proud to represent her adopted country and hopes to inspire other newcomers as she competes in her first Olympic Games at Paris 2024, when she will compete in the women’s 62 kg category.

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Three years after competing in his first Olympic Games, Amar Dhesi, a member of the Vancouver Police Department, will take on the role of leader on the wrestling team. Dhesi aims to improve on the result he achieved at the Tokyo 2020 Games, when he finished in 13e place. In 2022, Dhesi won gold at the Pan American Championships as well as the Commonwealth Games.

Portrait of Amar Dhesi
Amar Dhesi celebrates his victory at the 2020 Pan American Olympic Qualifying Tournament at the Shaw Center in Ottawa on Sunday, March 15, 2020. Photo: Michael P. Hall/Michaelphall.ca

“Finding the words to express the feeling of representing my country, my community and my family at my second Olympic Games has been difficult, but I always come back to the word gratitude,” said Dhesi, who will compete in the men’s freestyle wrestling event. in the 125 kg category. “I am grateful for the opportunity to once again be in a position to have a chance to bring home an Olympic medal. I failed in Tokyo, but I am ready to be brave and fight. We have a great team, and I can’t wait to be in Paris! »

Alex Moore is particularly appreciative of his qualification for Paris 2024, having had to deal with several injuries throughout the qualification process leading up to the Tokyo 2020 Games. He will compete in the men’s freestyle wrestling event in the 86 kg.

Born in Prince Edward Island, Hannah Taylor will represent Team Canada, as well as the country’s smallest province, in the women’s 57 kg category at her first Olympic Games. Taylor won two bronze medals at the Under-23 World Championships (2019, 2021) and a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games (2022).

Canada’s Hannah Taylor battles Venezuela’s Betzabeth Sarco during the women’s 57kg freestyle wrestling semi-finals at the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games, Thursday, November 2, 2023. Photo by Candice Ward/COC

“When I was younger I used to play the Olympics game on my PlayStation console, I watched the Olympics and I knew my dream was to go, even though I didn’t know in what a sport that would be, Taylor said within minutes of her Olympic qualification. After my very first practice, my wrestling coach told me, ‘You’re going to the Olympics.’ So I persevered because my dream was to go to the Olympics and he thought I was capable of it. Now that this moment has finally arrived, I’m having a hard time finding the words to describe how I feel. »

The other Team Canada wrestler to earn her spot at the Olympics is Linda Morais, a seasoned 30-year-old athlete who qualified for her first Olympics five years after winning gold at the 2019 World Championships at the 59 kg.

“It’s an incredible feeling. It’s something I’ve wanted to accomplish since I was a little girl. Everyone who knows me knows that I have been talking about the Olympics since elementary school, when I met an Olympic athlete,” Morais said after qualifying for the Paris 2024 Games at the World Tournament. Olympic qualifying event held in May. She will compete in the women’s 68 kg event.

Linda Morais raises a Canadian flag.
Linda Morais reacts after winning the gold medal match in the women’s 59 kg category at the World Wrestling Championships in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, Thursday, September 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Anvar Ilyasov)

Canada has won 17 Olympic medals in wrestling in its history, including three gold, the most recent dating back to Wiebe’s victory in 2016. The wrestling events will be contested from August 5 to 11 at the Aréna Champ-de- March.

Team Canada wrestlers at Paris 2024:

Hannah Taylor (Summerside, PE) – 57 kg, women

Ana Godinez Gonzalez (Burnaby, BC) – 62 kg, women

Linda Morais (Tecumseh, ON) – 68 kg, women

Justina Di Stasio (Coquitlam, BC) – 76 kg, women

Alex Moore (Montreal, QC) – 86 kg freestyle, men

Amar Dhesi (Surrey, BC) – 125 kg freestyle, men

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