July 17, 2015 9:55 am

Morrison wins Canada’s 1st wrestling gold at Pan Am Games

Gene Morrison of Canada raises the Canadian flag after defeating Thalia Mallqui of Peru in the women's freestyle 48kg final during the Pan American Games in Toronto on Thursday, July 16, 2015. Morrison won gold.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
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TORONTO – Wrapped in a Canadian flag, Genevieve Morrison took a victory lap around the Mississauga Sports Centre.

“It’s that sports moment that you always see in movies and you dream of experiencing,” said the 26-year-old Quebec native.

Morrison won gold Thursday night in the women’s 48-kg wrestling freestyle final at the Pan Am Games. It’s Canada first gold in wrestling at the Games.

Gene Morrison of Canada holds her gold medal after defeating Thalia Mallqui of Peru in the women’s freestyle 48kg final during the Pan American Games in Toronto on Thursday, July 16, 2015.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Morrison credited the hometown crowd for helping her through the final seconds.

“We compete in a lot of high-calibre tournaments, but we’re not used to having a crowd and lights and music. It’s just fun to be able to share that with everyone and [feed] off that energy. It’s not something we get to experience all the time,” she said.

Morrison beat Peru’s Thalia Mallqui 5-4. But the final result wasn’t immediately clear. The Peru coach challenged the decision twice, eventually getting a yellow card for his protest.

“I knew he was kind of throwing it out of desperation,” said Morrison. “There really wasn’t anything to argue. I was pretty confident, but you just never know. Until the ref raises your hand, it’s not over.”

Gene Morrison, top, of Canada moments before time runs out to defeat Thalia Mallqui of Peru in the women’s freestyle 48kg final during the Pan American Games in Toronto on Thursday, July 16, 2015. Morrison won gold.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Born in Shawville, Que., Morrison now lives in Calgary, training at the Dinos Wrestling Club. She’s a two-time gold medallist at the FISU World University Championships (2010 and 2012) and a three-time gold medallist at the Nordhagen Classics (2012, 2013, 2015).

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