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2000 Canada Cup - Women's Division
Calgary, Alberta
August 5&6

Team Standings
1. Canada 113
2. USA 52
3. Mexico 40
4. Germany 9
4. Austria 9
6. Norway 8
6. Australia 8

46 KG (5)
1. Carol Huynh CAN
2. Angeles Barraza MEX
3. Lila Ristevska AUS
4. Julie Harris CAN
5. Crystal Brown USA

51 KG (3)
1. Lindsay Belisle CAN
2. Magdelena Arellano MEX
3. Martiza Collazo USA

56 KG (8)
1. Erica Sharp CAN
2. Breanne Graham CAN
3. Jennifer Ryz CAN
4. Tonya Verbeek CAN
5. Tina George-Wilson USA
6. Jessica Peterson CAN

62 KG (5)
1. Trish Leibel
(Outstanding Canadian Female Wrestler) CAN
2. Nicola Hartmann AUT
3. Lene Aanes NOR
4. Viola Akin CAN
5. Jaqueline Reynozo MEX

68 KG (5)
1. Shannon Samler CAN
2. Katie Downing
(Outstanding Foreign Women's Wrestler) USA
3. Toccara Montgomery USA

4. Daniela Leanos MEX
5. Robyn MacDonald CAN

75 KG (5)
1. Christine Nordhagen-Vierling CAN
2. Nina Englich GER
3. Dominique Smalley USA
4. Iris Smith USA
5. Alma Izquierdo MEX


Canadian Women's National Team

Carol Huynh (46 kg)
Lyndsey Belisle (51 KG)
Jennifer Ryz (56 kg)
Trish Leibel (62 KG)
Shannon Samler (68 KG)
Christine Nordhagen (75 KG)

Women's B Team

Jane Hofweber (62 KG)
Teresa Piotrowski (51 KG)
Erica Sharp (51 KG)


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The Canada Cup of International Wrestling was first hosted in the fall of 1980. The event was conceived as an alternative to the 1980 Moscow Olympics which Canada boycotted. The first Canada Cup was hosted in Thunder Bay, Ontario and featured teams from Hungary, Japan, and the United States in addition to the Canadian National Team. In the inaugural event, The U.S. narrowly defeated the Japanese National Team for the team title.

The 1981 Canada Cup moved to Toronto, Ontario. In this event, the Iowa Hawkeyes, representing the U.S.A., defeated the Canadian National Team by a single point to win the team title. In 1982, the powerhouse U.S.S.R. made their first appearance at the Canada Cup. The Soviets dominated winning seven of the ten individual titles and the team title by a landslide. In 1982, three 1980 Olympic Champions participated: Anatoly Beloglazov of the U.S.S.R. at 57 kg. who took the gold, his brother Sergei who lost to Rick Dellagatta of the U.S. in the 62 kg. final, and Claudio Pollio of Italy who placed third at 48Kg. Interesting to note that within ten years, both Beloglazov’s would be coaching in North America - Sergei in the U.S., and Anatoly in Hamilton, Ontario, only a short drive from the site of the 1982 Canada Cup.

In 1983 the world of politics played a role in the Canada Cup once again as the top-ranked Soviet team withdrew from the lineup for the event shortly before it. This in response to the political furor over the downing of the Korean Airliner shortly before. By coincidence, the Korean National Team made their first appearance at the Canada Cup that same year, winning an impressive five of ten weight classes. In spite of this impressive performance, the Koreans were defeated by the Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club of Phoenix, Arizona, representing the U.S.A.. It is noteworthy that five 1983 Canada Cup Gold Medalists went on to win Olympic gold medals at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics: In Tak Yoo (68 kg., Korea), Dave Schultz (74 kg., U.S.A.), Ed Banach (90 kg., U.S.A.), Lou Banach (100 kg., U.S.A.), and Bruce Baumgartner (Heavyweight, U.S.A.).

In 1984, Canada won its first team title at the Canada Cup, over teams from Australia, Italy, South Korea, and the U.S.A.. In 1985, Cuba participated in the Canada Cup for the first time among the largest field ever - nine countries in all. Cuba defeated the U.S. representatives, the Sunkist Kids by a score of 41 - 35, despite the U.S. taking five of ten individual gold medals and the Outstanding Wrestler award (to Nate Carr, 74 kg.).

In 1986, the Canada Cup welcomed yet another nation; this time the reclusive Chinese National Team. France also competed for the first time. With a stellar field, and with the finals hosted at Toronto’s Ontario Place theme park along Toronto’s beautiful waterfront, the event took its place as a premier sporting event, and one of the top North American Wrestling events on the International calendar. After the gala open-air finals had concluded, the U.S. representatives the Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club became the first team ever to win a second Canada Cup team title.

For 1987, the Canada Cup became a required event for all members of the Canadian National Team, and Canada’s performance reflected this re-emphasis by the host nation on the importance of the event. Six Canadians won a berth in the final matches, an unprecedented showing for the Canadians. Although only one (Ed Sernoski of Ottawa Ontario, competing for the Burnaby Mountain Wrestling Club) successfully took the gold medal. In a heart stopper of a match, the last of the day, Sernoski came back from what looked like certain defeat to snatch the gold.

The 1988 Canada Cup was a high-intensity warm up competition for the 1988 Seoul Korea Olympic Games. The event was the last Western Hemisphere event before the Olympics, so top athletes from teams like the U.S. and of course Canada participated. In spite of this strong field, Canada won four gold medals (Chris Woodcroft of Hamilton, 52kg., Gary Bohay of Burnaby, B.C. at 62kg., Gary Holmes of Thornhill at 74 kg., and Doug Cox of Elora at 90 kg.). In addition, Canada placed an incredible 28 athletes in the top six for the 1988 event.

As a post-Olympic year, the 1989 Canada Cup featured a tremendous mix of both old and new talent which made it one of the most entertaining finals ever held.

The 1989 Canada Cup was one of the strongest events ever. With a strong team from the U.S.S.R., as well as Bulgaria, two teams from the U.S.A., Cuba, Japan, South Korea and France it was evident that the Canadian Team would be in tough defending their team title at the event. Despite a gold medal performance by Chris Wilson over Karl Monaco of the U.S., Canada succumbed to the strength of the U.S.S.R. squad which captured an impressive five of ten gold medals. A feature of the even was Gary Bohay of Canada winning a bronze medal. Gary went on to capture a silver medal at the 1989 World Senior Championships later that summer.

The 1990 Canada Cup featured the first event hosted without the guidance and expertise of Joe Rabel of Toronto. Joe had acted as Administrative Chairman of the Canada Cup since its inception, but had moved from his position of Executive Director of the Ontario Amateur Wrestling Association. Though sorely missed, the Canada Cup Organizing Committee carried on without him, and the finals featured a tribute to Joe in thanks for his years of dedicated service.

The 1990 Canada Cup moved venue to the University of Toronto for the preliminaries but stayed at the Ontario Place Forum for an outstanding finals. Teams participating included Bulgaria, South Korea, Japan, U.S.A. (Team Foxcatcher), Cuba as well as a tough Canadian squad. Highlight of the finals was a win by Paul Hughes from nearby Mimico winning over Lazaro of Cuba. Paul won the outstanding Canadian Award for this win. Canada tied with Cuba for the Team title each with 83 points.

In 1991, the Canada Cup left the Toronto area for the first time since the inaugural event in 1980. This year, the event was hosted by the Hamilton Amateur Wrestling Club at McMaster University in Hamilton. The high level of competition came along with the event in the move. Team Foxcatcher from the U.S.A., by this point the strongest club team from the U.S., joined the Sunkist Kids club also from the U.S. as well as Japan. A team from Georgia joined the event for the first time. The Georgians, formerly of the Soviet Union, were competing independently on the international scene for one of the first times since the break up of the U.S.S.R. machine. In spite of the tough field, the Canadian National Team dominated the event, led by gold medal performances from Rob Dawson and Jeff Thue. Jeff would go on to a bronze medal performance at the 1991 World Senior Championships in Bulgaria later that year. The entire Canadian Team used the Canada Cup as a stepping stone to the World Championships that year as they went on to place 10th as a team at the World Championships in October.

Coming off their World performance in 1991, expectations were high for the Canadian Team for the 1992 Canada Cup, and they did not disappoint. Hosted once again in Hamilton, the Cup featured Japan, Cuba, Foxcatchers from the U.S., who were becoming fixtures. Also included was a team from Tashkent, another former Soviet Republic. Once again, Canada led the way with a strong team performance winning the team title convincingly over second place Japan. Outstanding performance were turned in by Rob Dawson, who won the Outstanding Canadian award, and Marty Calder. Chris Wilson lost a close match to Cuban Jesus Rodriquez, the outstanding foreign competitor of the 1992 Canada Cup. The clear leader of the Canadian Team was clearly becoming Jeff Thue of Saskatchewan, who went on to win a silver medal at the 1992 Olympics.

In 1993, the Canada Cup did not take place as Toronto Ontario took Centre stage of the Amateur Wrestling world, hosting the 1993 World Senior Freestyle Wrestling Championships and 1993 World Veteran’s Championships. In 1994 the event was scheduled to move to the other end of the country to Vancouver British Columbia but was unfortunately canceled due perhaps in part to the conflict with the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria, just up the road from Vancouver.

In 1995, the Canada Cup was successfully hosted in Vancouver British Columbia and featured teams from Korea, Russia, Japan, Cuba, Australia, the U.S.A. and of course the host Canadian National Team. The Canadians proved once again to be inhospitable hosts, demolishing all competition. The Canadians in fact scored more than twice as many team points as the second placing Japanese National Team. In fact, Canada captured seven out of ten gold medals, the most ever by any single nation in the history of the competition.

For 1996, the close geographical and chronological proximity to the 1996 Atlanta U.S.A. Olympics hurt interest to participate in the Canada Cup, and the event was cancelled. The event was to take place for the first time in Guelph, Ontario at the University of Guelph and hosted by the Guelph Wrestling Club.

For 1997, the Canada Cup returned to Ontario as it was awarded to the Guelph Wrestling Club to host the 15th version of the Canada Cup of International Wrestling. Moving an event such as this can be problematic, but the event was an unqualified success nonetheless. With visiting teams from Japan, U.S.A., and a powerful squad from South Korea, the tournament continued its reputation as one of the best freestyle wrestling events in the World. The South Korean Team proved to be a powerhouse squad and took the team title from the Canadian National Team for the first time since 1989.

For 1998, the Canada Cup once again returned to the community of Guelph Ontario. The success of the 1997 event raised the profile of the Canada Cup back to its high level on the international stage, and the response for the 1998 Canada Cup was tremendous. New for 1998 was the addition of a Women's division for the first time in the Canada Cup's history. This reflected both the tremendous growth of Women's Wrestling World-Wide, but also to showcase the tremendous success of the Canadian National Women's Team, top five in the World. This addition to the Cup transformed the event into the premier Men's and Women's Freestyle Wrestling event in North America. In 1998, the Canadian Men's Team narrowly edged out a very strong German team to regain the team title in a tough feild which included Germany's previous World Champion Alexander Liepold Liepold who took Gold at the Canada Cup. The Canadian Team had too much depth for the Germans though, and won the Team Title with individual Golds from Marty Calder, Daniel Igali (voted the Outstanding Wrestler), and Greg Edgelow. In the first ever Women's division at the Canada Cup, Canada scored a resounding Team Gold with four individual Gold Medalists. Silver Team was Venezuela, followed by Japan then Austria. Austrian Team Captain Nikola Hartman took gold at the Canada Cup and went on to win gold at the 1998 Women's World Championships following the Canada Cup. Canada's Christine Nordhagen also won gold at Canada Cup and went on the capture the Gold at the Worlds. Christine was voted the Outstanding Wrestler at both the 1998 Canada Cup and the World Championships.

by Tim MaGarrey