To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world
By William May
（Japan Amateur Wrestling Federation, Public
Kyodo World Services, senior sports writer：firstname.lastname@example.org）
INTERVIEW: NORDHAGEN ON COMEBACK TRAIL, TAKES AIM AT ATHENS
TUNIS (March 6) - Six-time world champion
Christine Nordhagen of Canada wrestled at
the Olympic qualification tournament for
women's wrestling in Tunis, March 6-7. She
took some time away from her preparations
to answer some questions for the JWF website.
Q. You won your last world championship in
2001 and we haven't see you for a couple
of years. Were you retired for a while?
CN: When I won the world championship in 2001,
my knees really hurt. I was in a lot of pain
with kind of an arthritis in my knees.Well,
with the Olympics coming up in 2004, we decided
that it would be a good time to have the
knees cleaned up. So in June 2002, I had
surgery on both knees and then started wrestling
again that October. It felt good to be wrestling
again, but it seems like just when I'd get going, then I'd have an injury and
then another -- the neck, then the ribs.
It was kind of discouraging since I wanted
to be healthy and I wanted to wrestle. But
I tried to stay positive.
Q. At the Japan Queens Cup competition last
month, we saw the end of the competitive
careers of former world champions Shoko Yoshimura
and Miyu Yamamoto. But at 32, here you are
at the Olympic qualifying tournament. What
is the secret of your longevity?
CN: (Laughing) Well, I guess I just haven't
been challenged by a stud athlete yet! You
know, when I lost to Ohenewa (Akuffo), I
was a little worried because she has always
been dangerous and she has always given me
a tough match. But, I've been around for
a long time and I think I have a lot of experience
which helps me now.
Q. So, how long have you been wrestling?
CN: Twelve years. But since I started wrestling
at the age of 20, I've only been in senior
wrestling. I think that that's a lot different
than starting out with a little kids club
and then wrestling for 12 years.
Q. What made you decide to take up wrestling?
CN: At university, I had to take a number of
activities classes as part of my minor in
physical education. One of the classes wrestling
and since I've always liked wrestling I thought
I would try it.
Q. What would you say is the biggest between
your wrestling 12 years ago and now?
CN: In the beginning, of course, I was just trying
to learn how to execute the moves. Now, I'm
trying to learn the game. I guess I'm always
trying to learn more about wrestling.
Q. What influence did Yayoi Urano have on your
wrestling? (Note: Urano defeated Nordhagen
in the finals of the 1993 world championships.
She traveled to Canada in the 1990s and decided
to marry a Canadian and move there.)
CN: Yayoi and I met in the finals of my first
world championships, then she moved down
a weight. So, we were never really rivals.
When she started coming to Canada, I always
had fun wrestling her. It's difficult to
find a female who's at that level of wrestling,
so I always enjoyed wrestling with her.
Q. Which world title would you say is your most
CN: It would be 2000. In 1998, I had won my third
straight title at 68 kg, and Kyoko (Hamaguchi)
was beginning to win regularly at 75 kg.
So, Leigh and I discussed moving up a weight
for a new challenge. Well, I lost to Kyoko
in the semifinals of the 1999 world championships.
And then, I lost to Edyta Witkowska (Poland)
in January 2000. So, I could made the cut
back to 68 kg and could have taken the easy
way out, but I decided to stay. Then, I got
food poisoning at the championships, so everything
was working against me. I was really sick
the first day, but managed to get through.
I was supposed to wrestle Kyoko in the semifinals
on the second day and I hadn't eaten for
a couple days and felt really weak. But the semifinals were postponed to
the next day and I had a chance to recover.
Anyway, I beat Kyoko in the semifinals (Photo) and Eddy (Witkowska) in the finals for the
championship. So, when I have a speaking
engagement, I like to tell
people about the 2000 championship and the
importance of accepting challenges and remaining
Q. How would you describe Kyoko as an opponent?
CN: Kyoko's very strong and solid. She always
stays in good position and it's hard to get
her out of position. She's very good at waiting
for her opponent to make mistakes and then
taking her point.
Q: How would you describe Toccara (Montgomery
of the United States)?
CN: Very explosive. It's like "Bam!"
and she's in on a double-leg.
Q. And China's Wang Xu?
CN: Actually, I don't think I've ever wrestled
her. But, I'm not sure.
Q. And (Stanka) Hristova of Bulgaria?
CN: I've never wrestled her, but after watching
her I think she would be fun to wrestle.
She's aggressive and I enjoy wrestling against
offensive wrestlers. But, she's also young
and she makes mistakes.
Q. And, Germany's (Anita) Schaetzle?
CN: She's a good technical wrestler, but she's
not as physcially strong as some of the others.
Q. And, what are your goals for Athens?
CN: Of course, I would like to win it. I think
the World Cup (in Tokyo) was good experience
for me because I had a chance to wrestle
some of the top people again. I lost my focus
in a couple of matches, but it was a good
test for me.