Road To The Olympic Games

Wrestling

Wrestler Erica Wiebe wins Canada's 4th gold medal at Rio Olympics

Canadian wrestler Erica Wiebe won gold after defeating Kazakhstan's Guzel Manyurova in the 75-kilogram final at the Rio Olympics.

Canadian wrestler defeats Kazakhstan's Guzel Manyurova in 75-kilogram freestyle final

Ottawa's Erica Wiebe reacts after defeating China's Zhang Fengliu during the women's 75-kg freestyle wrestling competition at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Aug. 18, 2016. (Markus Schreiber/Associated Press)

By Benjamin Blum, CBC Sports

Canadian wrestler Erica Wiebe wears her emotions on her singlet.

This was readily apparent after the 27-year-old won gold by defeating Kazakhstan's Guzel Manyurova in the 75-kilogram final at the Rio Olympics.

"I love this sport and I never thought I'd be an Olympic champion, but today I had my best day," Wiebe told CBC Sports after the bout.

"It's amazing."

The Olympic gold medal is Canada's fourth at the Games and continues Canada's medal streak in women's
wrestling. It's also Canada's largest gold-medal tally at a Summer Olympics since the 1992 Barcelona Games where Canadians won seven.

The Stittsville, Ont., native dominated the Kazakh veteran, who took silver in 2004 and bronze in 2012, winning by a score of 6-0 after downing Vasilisa Marzaliuk of Belarus, China's Fengliu Zhang and Germany's Maria Selmaier earlier in the day.

"I've never had this much fun wrestling," Wiebe said. "I just wanted to go out there, not think about what match it was or who I was wrestling.

Zhang and Russia's Ekaterina Bukina tied for the bronze medal.

With the victory, Wiebe follows in the footsteps of two-time Olympic medallist Carol Huynh, the winner of Canada's first-ever gold in women's wrestling in Beijing eight years ago, and Tonya Verbeek, who finished on the podium at three separate Games.

Canada's only other gold in wrestling was won by Daniel Igali in 2000.

Thursday's win at Barra Olympic Park was Canada's fourth gold medal in Brazil, equalling the combined haul from 2008 (three) and 2012 (one), and the most since the seven collected in Barcelona in 1992.

Wiebe, who didn't make Canada's team for last summer's Pan Am Games in Toronto, beat Marzaliuk 3-0 in the semifinals after coming from behind to defeat Zhang 3-1 in the quarters.​

Day began with win over German

In other action involving Canadians, Saskatoon's Jillian Gallays lost her qualification match to North Korea's Myong Suk Jong in the 53-kilogram category, while Danielle Lappage of Olds, Alta., withdrew because of injury early in her showdown with Ukraine's Yulia Tkach at the same stage of the 63-kilogram division.

Vierling said Lappage hurt her back in warmup and tried to battle through, but the visibly distraught 25-year-old only lasted 40 seconds before calling it quits.

"Things happen quickly," Vierling said in describing the injury. "I don't know if it was slippery ... she went to elevate her training partner and kind of slipped back and got caught in a really funny position — almost like a splits.

"Our medical crew tried to do a pit crew job on it, but her body's really angry right now."

Lappage — who also won gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and World University Championships — still had a shot at a bronze by way of the repechage if she recovered in time, but Tkach lost her next bout, eliminating the Canadian.

"It tears my heart apart," said Vierling. "[Lappage] was just so ready to win this thing."

Gallays, 29, was also eliminated from contention in the repechage after Jong lost in the quarters.

With files from The Canadian Press

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