The Candy Palmater Show

Athlete Erica Wiebe wrestles with body image

Heavyweight wrestler Erica Wiebe is currently training to compete at the Olympics, but the body image discussion holds its relevance to this day.
Erica is currently training to compete in the 2016 Olympic Games. (ericawiebe.ca)

Erica Wiebe has been self-conscious about her body ever since a junior high school soccer coach made a comment about her weight. Later, Erica discovered the world of wrestling, and fell in love with the sport the first moment she stepped on the mat. And even though she is currently training to compete at the highest level, the body image discussion holds its relevance to this day.

Wrestling is a weight class sport, Erica explained, so the athletes spend a lot of time looking at the scale.

"Our body is the tool that we use to perform, so it's a very important part of our lives," Erica told Candy. She said she often has discussions around body image with her teammates.

What complicates such conversations further are the discrepancies between the different standards of feminine and athletic beauty projected in the mainstream media.

"We're constantly around these fit bodies and we're constantly pushing ourselves and looking at the results," Erica said. "And when that's intertwined with how we're expected to look in the media… and how we negotiate those spaces within what we do for a living, [it] brings all these feelings and curiosities."

Over time, Erica has learned to put those feelings aside.

"I work through my own body issues with the same way I work through wrestling, it's this 'fake it till you make it' mentality. You have to be confident on the mat, that's the first step. You have to be technically and tactically strong and powerful, but [believing in yourself] is the most important thing," she told Candy. 

For Erica and her teammates, the hard work and commitment are paying off. They are heading to Rio this summer to represent Team Canada at the 2016 Summer Olympics. 

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