Di Bacco mines silver in Peru
Olivia Di Bacco returned from the Pan Am Games in Peru with a silver medal and a lot of good memories.
“From a wrestling perspective, it was an excellent experience. The atmosphere and the energy in the stadium was a lot of fun,” said the 27-year-old member of the Brock Wrestling Club. “It felt like the crowd was right on top of you and we don’t get to wrestle a lot in an atmosphere like that
“I really enjoyed it and I felt really amped up.”
The Orillia native was pinned in the 68-kilogram final by American Tamyra Mensah.
“I lost to a very good opponent, but I felt I wasn’t able to showcase some of the improvements that we have been making so that was frustrating,” Di Bacco said. “But then I get to come back, take some of the things I learned from that match and get to apply them here.”
The registered massage therapist learned valuable lessons from the match.
“It is up to me to set the pace, it is up to me to initiate hand fighting and I am in way more control of my fate than I realize,” she said. “When I choose to hand fight, when I choose to be physical and when I choose to be first, good things happen.”
Her biggest gains at the Pan Ams were inside her head as opposed to on the mats.
“The biggest win from the tournament was being mentally first and mentally ready to take this, scrap it out and really for stuff,” she said. “With the American, I didn’t feel quite the same way, There were some hesitations and hesitations kill.”
She described the Pan Am silver medal as one of the highlights of her career to date.
“It is pretty cool because I had never been to a Games before. It was a nice experience to have and I beat some good people to get there and I had good competition as well.”
Di Bacco also lost to the American in the bronze-medal match at last year’s senior worlds.
“She has beaten me four times and she is still on my kill list,” Di Bacco said, with a smile.
She feels she is making steady progress in her sport.
“I think the things I am mostly happy with aren’t something that people would really see on the mats,” she said. “Maybe my coaches and some of my training partners might see because they are more mental and mindset victories.”
Di Bacco placed fifth at last year’s senior worlds but won’t be going this year because she lost a wrestle-off to Danielle Lappage.
“She is a good opponent, but it was frustrating to lose,” she said. “I made costly mistakes and that’s the way it goes.”
Di Bacco quickly shrugged off the setback.
“A few hours after the wrestle-off, I texted Marty (head coach Calder) and some of my training partners and I told them we were going to make this loss the best thing that has happened and choose to use it in a way that is going to propel more growth and forward momentum going into Trials and going into the Olympics.”
Those Canadian Olympic Trials will be held December 6-8 in Niagara.
“We are a little under four months away which is exciting and a bit terrifying,” she said. “I feel that there is still so much to do but, to be honest, it’s about being faithful to the little things, chipping away and making sure we are creating and refining good habits on and off the mats.
“It’s the accumulation of little choices that add up to big moments.”
Di Bacco feels it is an advantage to only have to prepare for the Olympics Trials and not the senior worlds as well.
“I get to be really focused on getting ready for December and I don’t have to peak and taper and have multiple peaks in a short amount of time,” she said. “That is a physiological advantage and mentally I get a bit of a break.”
Brock wrestler Hannah Taylor also competed for Canada at the Pan Am Games and lost her first match 6-5 to Brazil’s Giullia Rodrigues.