Hometown gal Erica Wiebe's Olympic gold celebrated by Ottawa wrestling community

Erica Wiebe's gold-medal finish in wrestling at the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro will inspire a new generation of girls, according to members of the club where Wiebe began her career.

Stittsville athlete now living in Calgary will inspire a new generation of girls, Ottawa wrestling club says

National Capital Wrestling Club members watch hometown gal Erica Wiebe on the road to Olympic gold in Rio de Janeiro this week. (CBC)

About a dozen members of the National Capital Wrestling Club (NCWC) jumped out of their seats and chanted "ER-I-CA! ER-I-CA! as it became clear one of their own had clinched gold at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Erica Wiebe, 27, from Ottawa's Stittsville suburb, beat Guzel Manyurova of Kazakhstan 6-0 in the 75-kilogram final Thursday afternoon.

"It's just so exciting to watch Erica. She killed it," said NCWC head women's coach Deborah Jehu. "What she's done for women in wrestling has been just amazing."

The gold medal will surely inspire girls to think about wrestling as a positive empowering sport, she added.

Sporting a T-shirt emblazoned with Wiebe's name, 19-year-old club wrestler Andrea Pretty said Wiebe has always been an inspiration, but watching her reach the Olympic podium has really had an impact.

"It shows you, like, if I keep up, you know, I can do this," Pretty said. "And I could be there. You know, I started the same age she did, and came from the same sort of small town, so if she can make it, maybe I can make it."

Ottawa's Erica Wiebe displays her gold medal after defeating Kazakhstan's Guzel Manyurova to win the women's 75kg freestyle wrestling gold medal match at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Aug. 18, 2016. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

Wiebe started wrestling with the club when she was still a high school student at Sacred Heart in Stittsville.

NCWC head coach Chris Schrauwen said Wiebe has always continued her relationship with the club despite moving on to the international stage. He said he remembers what it was like to train with Wiebe when they were in high school, and that he wasn't surprised by her triumph in Rio. 

But watching her win 6-0 to secure gold, "it just blew my mind, we were all just freaking out," he said.

They weren't the only ones in Ottawa freaking out.

A group of friends, family and admirers also turned out at a local bar in Stittsville to cheer on their favourite daughter.

And in Calgary, which she now calls home, the "be-Wiebers" were out in full form, cheering Canada's golden wrestler.