Carol Huynh’s parents fled Vietnam in 1980 with their two eldest children and settled in Hazelton, a small community in west-central BC. The first of her family born in Canada, Carol grew up in Hazelton where she participated in every sport she could. At 15 she joined her high school wrestling team and upon graduation in 1998 she was recruited by Simon Fraser University. A rising star, she made the Junior World team in 1999 and the Senior World team in 2000, ultimately winning silver and two bronze in six world championships. In 2004 she missed a chance to compete in the Athens Olympics by just one spot, but was able attend the games as a team training partner to observe and learn. The frustration of being on the sidelines fuelled her drive to achieve, and in 2006 she relocated to Calgary with a renewed determination to pursue her Olympic dream. Her decision paid off when she won Canada’s first medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and first-ever Olympic gold for women’s wrestling. She defeated Japan’s Chiharu Icho, a three-time world champion and the gold medal favourite. Most Canadians will remember the highly emotional moment when Carol held up her medal, tears of joy drenching her face as the Canadian anthem began to play. Her achievement inspired not just those from her home town of Hazelton, but all Canadians and athletes around the world.
This post was originally posted to the SFU BPK Alumni Page.