Thursday December 28th, 2023

And with the end of the Olympic Trials, wrestling events for the calendar year of 2023 comes to a close. This has been a year of ups and downs for me, both personally and on the mat. It’s been a year of personal loss and professional difficulty with our school strike and its effects on our high school season.

Nevertheless, Quebec wrestling had a good season during this time. Our international results were not where we had hoped which is never a good thing. However, locally, wrestling has seen a bit of a resurgence as numbers have increased at the local level since the end of last year.

The GMAA/RSEQ finals looked good last year and this season looks to be even more promising

If we start back from the beginning of the year, Quebec began the year with a series of tournament at the youth level and continued on to the GMAA/RSEQ regular season and Championships. The Provincial Championships, the USport National Championships, the National Team Trials and the respective National Championships followed for our Quebec athletes. We would see the usual gamut of Continental Championships and World Championships as well as the reappearance of the North American Indigenous Games, put on hold for quite a while after the pandemic.

So with all that being said, was 2023 a good one? First, let’s focus on some of the positives:

  1. A larger GMAA/RSEQ league. We saw more teams and more wrestlers from last year’s league. More youth wrestlers will hopefully translate to more wrestlers progressing on to the high performance levels.
  2. Increased registrations of athletes, coaches and officials. While I don’t have the exact numbers of which demographic made the largest increase, the coordinator for the FLOQ assured me that we had seen an increase from the previous years. If we assume that each demographic made a proportional increase, this would seem to indicate growth in all areas, which is something we haven’t seen in a long time.
  3. Four athletes win their weights at the Olympic Trials. It’s been a long time since more than two Quebec athletes won at the Olympic Trials to get the chance to qualify their weight for the Olympics. The last time that this was done was at the 1996 Olympics in which Guivi Sissaouri, Oleg Ladik and Andrew Bordow punched their ticket to Atlanta.

The Olympic Trials were a good one for Quebec Athletes (Photo property of Wrestling Canada Lutte)

Now that that’s been done, let’s focus on some things I feel need to be improved.

  1. Getting more French schools into the league. While the league saw an increase in the amount of schools registered, getting more programs started up in French schools should be a priority as they represent the largest demographic in the province.
  2. Getting more coaches certified. With increased membership comes increased amount of coaches. While this is always a good thing, I think this needs to come with a buyer beware attached to it. While many people think that they can coach, there’s a reason why the NCCP exists. It sets the standards and guidelines and it’s the same reason why we do driving lessons and a driving test. This helps to insure that almost everyone is at the same level. Even then, we still have people that slip through the cracks. Coaching is too important to be left to substandard practices which leads me to my final point.
  3.  Reinforcing the Code of Conduct. Lastly, each coach needs to adhere to the Code of Conduct of the FLOQ. I spent half a year of my life helping to craft that constitution. The Code of Conduct will help to insure that certain standards are kept and we would be remiss in not adhering and enforcing it. While certain aspects of the Code of Conduct may seem obvious, to some people, it isn’t always. The fact that it’s there is eliminate any ambiguity.

All in all, 2023 can be considered a successful year. While some things still need some work and improvement, the overall positive growth and development seems to be trending in the right direction. Here’s hoping that 2024 brings about some more success at the various levels for our Quebec athletes and coaches.