close
close

‘Proud to represent Canada’: Wrestler training in Montreal qualifies for 2024 Olympics

‘Proud to represent Canada’: Wrestler training in Montreal qualifies for 2024 Olympics

For as long as she can remember, it has been a long-cherished wish of Linda Morais: she will go to the 2024 Olympic Games.

The Ontario wrestler has spent more than a decade honing her moves at the National Training Centre in Montreal to wrestle at the senior level, and is now ready to make her Olympic dreams come true in Paris.

“I’m excited to meet people and feel that energy,” Morais said. “I’m obviously super excited to compete.”

“I’m very excited to represent Canada.”

Linda Morais wrestles at the Montreal Wrestling Club on July 2, 2024. (Source: Pamela Pagano/CityNews)

Her favorite motto: “I didn’t come this far just to get this far.”

And she proves it.

The wrestler won a world championship in 2019 — Only four other Canadian women have ever won a world title in wrestling.

Morais failed to qualify for Tokyo 2020 and the Pam Am qualifiers a few months ago.

“In Mexico for that qualifier, I put so much pressure on myself that I just collapsed,” she explained. “Whereas in Turkey, I was like, OK, you know what, this is my last chance to qualify for an Olympic team.”

“Let’s just go out there and have fun,” she added. “I kind of went back to my roots, which is trying to enjoy the moment.”

There she bought her ticket to Paris.

Linda Morais wrestles at the Montreal Wrestling Club on July 2, 2024. (Source: Pamela Pagano/CityNews)

“It was such a surreal moment,” Morais said. “They blew their whistle, the race is officially over. I look up and I’m the one who qualified, I’m overwhelmed.”

“I’m just so excited, I just want to run to the corner and hug my coach. He’s put so much time into my development.”

The Montreal Wrestling Club on July 2, 2024. (Source: Pamela Pagano/CityNews)

Her love for wrestling began in the eighth grade – with her father’s encouragement, the social aspect got her hooked on the sport. Her high school coach and her talent kept her going.

“I would tell my younger self that it’s an incredibly difficult journey,” she said. “Don’t underestimate that.”

“But the peaks and the rewards are just such incredible memories.”

Morais will train at a pre-camp in Ontario at the end of July and leave for Paris at the beginning of August.

She thanks her family, friends and supporters for always standing behind her.

“I’m incredibly proud to represent Canada,” Morais said. “Every time I see the Maple Leaf, I get excited.”

“I’m so excited to go there and try to make as many Canadians proud as possible.”