November 24


All That Is Gold Does Not Glitter

photo credit: Colin Way

Not long after I wrote about Olympics bound wrestler Erica Wiebe, she went on to win gold in Rio. I was curious what life is like for a newly minted Olympic champion so I caught up with Wiebe about a year later. My story, “All That Is Gold Does Not Glitter,” follow her through the challenges of her first post-Olympic year. The moments immediately following her victory did not make into the story, though, so I will include them here.

Wiebe had little time to celebrate her win before an Olympic official hurried her to the medal podium. Wiebe quickly pulled on her Team Canada tracksuit, wiped the sweat from her face with a towel she found on the ground, and stepped up onto the podium to accept her medal. Wiebe’s final was the last of match of the women’s tournament and the stadium was nearly empty by the time she stood to sing “Oh Canada.” Aside from a few dozen Canadian fans, almost everyone else had gone home.

For all the gilded glory that comes with winning a gold medal, Wiebe’s first hours as champion held little glamour. “I got my medal and went straight to doping,” Wiebe said. “I sat with our team doctor for an hour just waiting to pee.” Once she produced her sample, an official rushed her to the international broadcasting centre where she had just enough time to scarf down an overcooked hamburger from the NBC Café before sitting for two hours of interviews. She watched Canadian sprinter Andre De Grasse win his silver medal in the 200m from inside the CBC studio. Afterwards, she went back to the Athlete’s Village. Then she fell asleep.