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Yukon's Laverdure named to Commonwealth Games team

Brittanee Laverdure has competed at national championships, Pan-American Championships and world championships.

Brittanee Laverdure has competed at national championships, Pan-American Championships and world championships.

Now the Watson Lake wrestler is finally getting a chance to represent Canada at a major Games and is determined to making the biggest Games of them all: the Olympics.

Laverdure has been named to Team Canada for the Commonwealth Games, Wrestling Canada Lutte announced Thursday.

“I’m excited because I haven’t actually done a Games,” said Laverdure. “I’ve done lots of championships like the Pan Am championships, but I haven’t done Pan Am Games.

“The Commonwealth Games are every four years - the last one was 2010 - and Tonya (Verbeek) went. So I’ve never actually gotten to go.

“I’m not planning to be around four more years, so I’m excited,” added the 32-year-old.

Laverdure is one of 14 wrestlers named to the team for the quadrennial event in Glasgow, Scotland, beginning late July. She is currently the only Yukon athlete etched on the Team Canada roster.

“It only comes around every four years, so it’s a good opportunity,” added Laverdure.

Though the team hasn’t been selected, it is likely Laverdure will also represent Canada at the Pan-American Championships in Mexico City in the middle of July.

There was a time when she began to slip off the radar, but she’s back with a vengeance.

Laverdure returned to competition after eight months away following shoulder surgery to win gold in a newly introduced 53-kilogram weight class at the 2014 Senior National Championships this past March. It was her first national title since 2009 when she won in the 55-kilogram class.

In her next competition she was edged out of a spot on Canada’s team for the FILA World Wrestling Championships this September in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

She placed second in the 53-kilogram class, behind Saskatoon’s Jillian Gallays, and is the team’s first-alternate.

So Laverdure will take another crack at making Canada’s worlds team in her old weight class, 55-kilograms, this July at the Canada Cup in Guelph, Ont.

Maintaining a spot at the top of a sport and a successful career is no easy feat, and Laverdure has been doing it for a while now. The Calgary lawyer figures it’s time to refine the balancing act.

If she wants to fulfill her dream of making the Olympics, 2016 will be her last shot. The Pan-Am Championships, next year’s Pan-American Games, the Commonwealth Games, and possibly another world championship, are the stepping stones she hopes to tread on her way to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

“After the last competition I’m refocusing, getting back into wrestling,” said Laverdure. “I was kind of juggling between being a lawyer and being a wrestler. The being a lawyer part will always be there, but this is the last opportunity I have to make the Olympic team, so I want to put my effort into that.”

Laverdure, who competes out of the Dinos Wrestling Club in Calgary, has twice been first-alternate for Canada’s Olympic wrestling team, placing second behind Verbeek in trials for the 2008 and 2012 Games.

Laverdure won a bronze at the 2008 FILA Women Wrestling World Championships and placed fifth in 2012 for 55-kilograms.

In 2010 she won gold at the World University Championships in the 55-kilogram class.

Laverdure is currently in Europe for the German Grand Prix this weekend.

“Of course I want to medal, that’s always my goal - I don’t want to be a participant,” said Laverdure of the Commonwealth Games with a laugh. “I’d love to medal or at least be top five. Top five is always my goal because you’re at least in the medal rounds.”

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