Erica Wiebe, Canadian freestyle wrester and Olympic gold medalist, recently recounted her first experience with the WWE. Speaking to CBC Sports, the 28-year-old opened up about the intriguing opportunity that led to taking a walk on the red carpet and taking bumps in the ring.

Wiebe, who won gold in the women's 75kg freestyle at the 2016 Rio Olympics, was approached by the WWE and offered the chance to fly out to Las Vegas to attend the inaugural Mae Young Classic.

"I had never watched a single WWE event before I walked into the Thomas & Mack Arena," Wiebe admits.

After walking the red carpet alongside Stephanie McMahon a red carpet that featured the likes of Ronda Rousey and the cast of the Netflix series G.L.O.W. - the Olympian settled into her seat to watch Kairi Sane make history by defeating former MMA star Shayna Baszler and become the winner of the revolutionary women's tournament. The evening, which included a successful title defense by Smackdown women's champion Natalya, sparked an interest in Wiebe. Stepping into the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, the 5'7" gold medalist laced up her shoes with a chip on her shoulder.

"By the end of the night I knew I had to try this out for myself," Wiebe said. "To be honest, I was pretty cocky as I climbed between the ropes. I had dedicated the past 10 years of my life to mastering the craft of freestyle wrestling how hard could a little fake wrestling be?

"As we worked through various basic skills, I quickly realized that every instinct I had as a freestyle wrestler was counter to what was needed in this ring."

While her past experience has kept her concentration on a heavy-handed approach to pummeling and wearing down her opponent, she discovered that this performance required a focus on carefully executed moves. After mastering the art of the bump, including a flip-bump, Wiebe found a new appreciation for the sport, noting that "this would be a lot different than the wrestling I was used to."

Wiebe is currently transitioning into the corporate world, stepping into the role of consultant at Deloitte, and keeping her eyes fixed on the 2020 summer Olympics. However, she doesn't rule out future involvement with the WWE, who have left the door open for her.

Source: CBC Sports