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Olds-born wrestler fails to advance to quarter-finals at Tokyo Olympics

Danielle Lappage, 30, lost 7-0 to Russian wrestler Khanum Velieva

An Olds-born wrestler has been ousted from the Tokyo Olympics after losing in her opening women’s 68-kilogram match.

Danielle Lappage, 30, lost 7-0 to Russian wrestler Khanum Velieva and failed to advance to the quarter-final.

“I was really confident, I had a good feeling and I just thought it would have ended differently,” said Lappage.

After the loss, Lappage took to Twitter to share a message.

“Today I wasn’t good enough to bring Canada and (the Town of Olds) home a medal. I am so sorry and so sad about that reality,” she said.

“Sport is beautiful but very unforgiving. I have beat most of these girls before but it was just not my day. I am heartbroken this is how my second Olympics ends.”

READ MORE: Olds-born wrestler ready for shot at Olympic glory

Despite the loss, Lappage said she is still proud of herself.

“In 2016, I ruptured my hamstring at the Olympics (in Rio). Less than one year ago I got another ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) reconstruction. I have won so many mental battles in the last five years,” she said.

“I did everything in my power to be successful today. There’s nothing else I could have done over the last five years and so, I have no regrets. I find peace in that.”

After her injury in 2016, Lappage returned to international competition in 2018, moving up to the 68kg weight class for most of the year and didn’t miss the podium in any international tournament she entered.

She earned silver at the UWW World Championships (where she competed at 65kg), and she also won 68kg silver at the Commonwealth Games and captured gold medals at the Klippan Lady Open, International Ukrainian Tournament, Canada Cup, and Poland Open.

In 2019, Lappage stood on six international podiums and in March 2020 she qualified for her second Olympic Games by winning the 68kg weight class at the Pan American qualification event.

Following the postponement of Tokyo 2020, Lappage underwent her second ACL reconstruction in August 2020 and endured more rehabilitation.

Lappage said she is “thankful” for everything she’s been through in the past five years.

“I have become a better person because of my experiences. I have made a family in Calgary and that means more than anything,” she said.

“Thank you everyone for tuning in, cheering me on and the outpouring of love. I love you all and can’t wait to cash in on some long overdue hugs when I’m back on Canadian soil.

The 30-year-old wrestler, who now lives in Calgary, also earned her law degree from the University of Calgary just a few months before the games.

—With files from The Canadian Press

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Sean McIntosh

About the Author: Sean McIntosh

Sean joined the Red Deer Advocate team in the summer of 2017. Originally from Ontario, he worked in a small town of 2,000 in Saskatchewan for seven months before coming to Central Alberta.
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