Summerside wrestler Hannah Taylor will lead Prince Edward Island into Friday’s opening ceremonies at the Canada Games in Sherbrooke, Que.
Team P.E.I. made the announcement Thursday.
“It’s going to be a great moment,” Taylor told The Guardian.
“To be on Team P.E.I. is an honour, but to represent Team P.E.I. and lead them out in the opening ceremonies is going to be a great experience.
“It’s going to feel great to be holding the flag for everyone.”
Chef de mission Francois Caron said the province has a strong contingent of “high-calibre athletes” competing during the first week of the Games.
“Hannah's resume and results over the past couple of years are very impressive,” he said. “The committee, reviewing the potential flag-bearers, all agreed that Hannah would be a great choice to lead our province into the opening ceremonies.”
The 15-year-old wrestler, who has been involved in the sport for three years, has had quite the season.
She won a national championship and the FILA trials in April, being named outstanding wrestler at the competition in the process, was named Wrestling P.E.I. Junior Female Athlete of the Year and will be heading to Serbia after the Games for the world championships.
The level-headed and determined athlete wants to win a gold next week in her 52-kilogram division.
“I’ve been training for two years now to win,” she said. “That’s still going to be my goal although I know it’s going to be tough competition.”
Taylor was involved in a variety of other sports growing up, including track and field, gymnastics, soccer, badminton, cross-country and basketball.
“Wrestling was my favourite,” Taylor said. “I realized how much I liked it and how easy it came to me within the first week of training.”
Early in her career she competed at the school level, while training with the Summerside Intermediate School team, and at club competitions as an independent before joining the Summerside Wolfpack Club.
Her passion for the sport was quickly evident.
“I knew I loved the sport, but I never actually thought about ever becoming an athlete,” she said. “It never even crossed my mind about any high-level performances.”
Her success has opened her eyes to the opportunities that are out there. Taylor would like to compete at next year’s junior Olympics in China and dreams of making the Olympics in 2020.
While wrestling is an individual sport, she said the Canada Games team is like a family, which supports each other in training and competitions.
Taylor trains six times a week and runs daily. Five times a week she trains in Charlottetown with the Canada Games team and once a week with her Wolfpack club team. Ligrit Sadiku, Ben Gallant and TJ Gaudet are members of both teams.
“They are like my three best friends,” Taylor said. “We’re always together. For them to be going to the Canada Games too, it’s going to be great to share the experience with three really close friends.”
Hannah Taylor is excited to be Prince Edward Island’s flag-bearer for Friday’s opening ceremonies at the Canada Games. The Summerside wrestler is also proud to wear the province’s colours in Sherbrooke, Que.
© Guardian Photo By Jason Malloy
2013 Hannah Taylor, wrestling
2011 Chris Morgan, gymnasts
2009 Andrew Costa, volleyball
2007 Patrick Knox, judo
2005 Andrew Macdonald, baseball
2003 Jenna Gallant, speedskating
2001 Cory Jay, cycling
1999 Thatcher Bell, hockey
Who – A wrestler attending the Canada Games in Sherbrooke, Que. She will also be Prince Edward Island’s flag-bearer.
Hometown – Summerside
Age – 15
Parents – Norman Taylor of Rice Point and Bonnie Taylor of Summerside.
School – Graduated from Summerside Intermediate School and will be entering Grade 10 this fall at Three Oaks Senior High School.
Quote – “I am really looking forward to seeing successful results from all of our hard-working athletes at the Games.”
Did you know – Hannah’s uncle, Troy Hicks, competed for New Brunswick at the 1985 Canada Games in wrestling.
Opening ceremonies – Friday at 8 p.m. Atlantic. It will be broadcast live on TSN2.