Rio Olympics: wrestlers Erica Wiebe & Jasmine Mian honed skills in Calgary

Click to play video: 'Calgary trained wrestlers Rio bound for Olympics' Calgary trained wrestlers Rio bound for Olympics
WATCH ABOVE: Erica Wiebe and Jasmine Mian are members of the National Women's Wrestling team headed to Rio for the Summer Olympics. Both women also moved from their hometown Ontario to Calgary to pursue their dream of stepping on the podium 2016 Games. Global’s Brendan Parker reports – Jul 22, 2016

Erica Wiebe feels like an Olympic veteran, having attended the last two Games, but readily admits Rio 2016 will have a completely different feel.

“I was in London as training partner. I was in Sochi as a volunteer,” Wiebe said. “So now I’m going to my third Olympics and I was like, 'oh I got this - just another Olympics.'

While Wiebe served only in a supporting role in the last Summer Olympics, she made sure to take a moment for herself.

Story continues below advertisement

“In between one of the sessions, when we were in the Olympic venue, I totally snuck out onto the mats and just closed my eyes and felt what it felt like. And it felt the exact same as any wrestling mat and so I was like, ‘OK, I can do this’,” Wiebe said.

READ MORE: Rio 2016 – Gymnast Rosie MacLennan named Canada’s flag bearer for Opening Ceremony

And now she will do it – as part of a women’s wrestling team that has returned with at least one medal from every Games since women’s wrestling was included in the Olympics in 2004.

Tonya Verbeek won three medals in the women’s 55-kilogram weight class, while Calgary’s Carol Huynh won gold in 2008, and bronze in 2012.

“To be part of that team, it’s a legacy, and we’re just going to try and uphold that,” Wiebe said.

“For some people in different sports, making the team is so exciting. But when you make the women’s wrestling team, you make it, and you’re excited. But there’s an expectation now that you can perform and we know that we can,” Olympian Jasmine Mian said.

READ MORE: Rio 2016 – Despite Brazil arrests, terror threat remains low, say experts and officials

Mian may understand that better than anyone. She’ll compete in Rio in the same weight class as the great Huynh (48 kg).

Story continues below advertisement

“Carol and Tonya were very much much trailblazers for the sport of women’s wrestling at the Olympic level,” Mian said. “That kind of showed us – the next generation of girls – that ‘OK, we can go to the Olympics and we can win,’ because it’s been done before.”

Both Verbeek and Huynh spent significant time in Calgary, training on the mats at the University of Calgary.

READ MORE: Canadian Olympic hopefuls may get 2nd chance to go to Rio if Russia is banned

It’s one of the big reasons why Wiebe and Mian moved from their hometown in Ontario to Alberta to prepare for their Olympic debuts.

“I can talk to Carol every single day and ask her the questions I have leading into the Games,” said Mian. “It’s really interesting to hear her perspective…it’s been so valuable and it gives me a lot of pride to be part of this team.”

Wiebe moved to Calgary eight years ago from Stittsville, Ont. to work under national women’s head coach Leigh Vierling.

“Calgary is one of the world’s [top] sporting cities–women’s wrestling specifically–Calgary has just flourished over the years,” Wiebe said. “The support that we have here and the team we have here–that’s what’s brought me to where I am today.”

Both women would love to be the next Canadian wrestlers to bring back medals to their adopted hometown next month.

Story continues below advertisement

Watch below: Brendan Parker profiled another Calgary athlete, Ben Saxton, who is heading to Rio (Jan. 2016)

Click to play video: 'Ben Saxton following in father’s Olympic footsteps' Ben Saxton following in father’s Olympic footsteps
Ben Saxton following in father’s Olympic footsteps – Jan 15, 2016

Sponsored content