Six Team Canada wrestlers will take to the mat at Paris 2024

Team Canada is sending a strong contingent of six wrestlers to compete at Paris 2024.

While only one athlete, Amar Dhesi, is a returning Olympian, the Canadian team is filled with champions at both the world and continental levels.

The most decorated of these athletes is Justina Di Stasio, who is a past world champion (2018), Pan Am Games champion (2019) and Commonwealth Games champion (2022), in addition to her numerous other international medals. Despite being a recognizable name on the international scene, Paris 2024 will be Di Stasio’s first Olympic Games. 

Justina Di Stasio pins her opponent to the mat in a wrestling match
Justina Di Stasio of Canada fights against Andrimar Lazaro of Venezuela during women’s freestyle 68kg at the Lima 2019 Pan American Games on Friday, August 9, 2019. (Photo: Vincent Ethier/COC)

A country can only qualify one wrestler per weight class and for the last two Olympic Games, it was Erica Wiebe who won the Canadian trials in Di Stasio’s category – which led to her winning Olympic gold at Rio 2016. Di Stasio will bring a wealth of experience and resilience with her to Paris 2024 as she competes in the women’s 76kg class.

“I have been working at this for so long and wanted to be in this position for so long. I said to myself I would do anything to win today and throughout training I said I would do anything to get to the Olympics,” Di Stasio said after winning her Olympic spot at the Pan American Qualifier in early March.

Two female wrestlers are bent at the waist preparing to fight each other on the mat
Ana Godinez Gonzalez competes at a UWW Ranking Series competition in Kyrgyzstan in June 2023 (Wrestling Canada/Bill Bain)

Ana Godinez Gonzalez is also a former world champion, having won gold at the U23 worlds in 2021. Godinez Gonzalez was a relative latecomer to the sport, only taking up wrestling in high school. She burst onto the scene in 2019, when she was finally able to compete for Canada as her adoptive country, her family having fled from Mexico when she was a child. She is proud to represent Canada and hopes to inspire other newcomers when she makes her Olympic debut at Paris 2024, competing in the women’s 62kg event.

READ: Justina Di Stasio and Ana Godinez-Gonzalez on why wrestling is for everyone and making each other better

Three years after making his Olympic debut, Amar Dhesi, who is a member of the Vancouver Police Department, will also shoulder a leadership role for the wrestling team. Dhesi has his eyes set on improving his result from Tokyo 2020, where he finished 13th. In 2022, Dhesi won gold at the Pan American Championships and Commonwealth Games (2022). 

Amar Dhesi raises arms in celebration
Amar Dhesi reacts after qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Pan American Qualifier in Ottawa, Ont. on Sunday, March 15, 2020. Michael P. Hall/

“Trying to find the words to express the feeling of representing my country, my community and my family at my second Olympic Games has been tough, but I keep coming back to the word grateful,” said Dhesi, who competes in men’s 125kg freestyle. “I am grateful for the opportunity to be in a position once again to have a chance to bring back an Olympic medal. I fell short in Tokyo but am prepared to be courageous and ready to bring the fight. We have a great team, and I’m looking forward to being in Paris!”

Paris 2024 qualification is extra sweet for Alex Moore, who dealt with several injuries throughout the qualification process for Tokyo 2020. He will compete in the men’s 86kg freestyle event.

Alex Moore competes in the men’s 86kg event at the 2023 Wrestling World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia (Wrestling Canada)

PEI-born Hannah Taylor will represent Team Canada, as well as the nation’s smallest province, at her first Olympic Games in the women’s 57kg class. Taylor is a two-time U23 world championship bronze medallist (2019, 2021) and Commonwealth Games bronze medallist (2022). 

“When I was younger, I used to play the Olympic game on my PlayStation, I used to watch the Olympics and I didn’t care what sport it was going to be, I knew my dream was to go to the Olympics,” Taylor said immediately after qualifying for the Games. “After my first practice, my wrestling coach said, ‘you are going to go to the Olympics.’ So, I stuck with it because my dream was to go to the Olympics and he thought I could. Now that this moment is finally here, I can’t even put it into words.”

Hannah Taylor pumps her fist as she pins her opponent to the mat
Hannah Taylor of Canada wins against Betzabeth Sarco of Venezuela in the women’s wrestling 57kg semifinals during the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games on Thursday, November 02, 2023. Photo by Candice Ward/COC

Team Canada’s final wrestler to book her Olympic spot was 30-year-old veteran Linda Morais, qualifying for her first Olympic Games five years after her world championship gold in the 59kg class in 2019. 

“It is such an incredible feeling. It is something I have wanted ever since I was a little girl. Everyone who knows me, knows I have been talking about the Olympics since elementary school when I met an Olympian,” said Morais after qualifying for Paris 2024 at the World Qualifier in May. She will compete in the women’s 68kg class.

Linda Morais raises her arms above her head in celebration as her opponent reacts in anguish to losing the match
Linda Morais reacts to qualifying for Paris 2024 at the World Olympic Qualifier in Istanbul in May 2024 (Wrestling Canada/Justin Hoch)

Canada has won 17 Olympic medals in wrestling, including three gold medals, the most recent being Wiebe’s 2016 victory. Wrestling competition will take place August 5 to August 11 at the Champ de Mars Arena. 

Team Canada Wrestlers at Paris 2024: 

Hannah Taylor (Summerside, P.E.I.) – Women’s 57kg
Ana Godinez Gonzalez (Burnaby, B.C.) – Women’s 62kg  
Linda Morais (Tecumseh, Ont. ) – Women’s 68kg 
Justina Di Stasio (Coquitlam, B.C.) – Women’s 76kg 
Alex Moore (Montreal, Que.) – Men’s 86kg Freestyle 
Amar Dhesi (Surrey, B.C.) – Men’s 125kg Freestyle