It isn't just a second shot that drove wrestler Haislan Garcia to earn a spot at the London Olympics.
The Coquitlam resident was grappling for another opportunity to represent his country and to improve on what he had done before.
A 16th place finish as a member of the 2008 Canadian Olympic team that competed in Beijing, Garcia battled through injury and a thick field of challengers to reclaim a position on the national team's roster.
In 2010 he finished fifth overall at the world championships and placed second at the Commonwealth Games. Garcia also scored back-to-back bronze medals at the Pan Am Games.
He earned his spot at London in May when he knocked off two-time NCAA champion Brent Metcalf in Kissimmee, Fla., for gold in the 66-kilogram division.
Born in Cuba, Garcia emigrated to Canada in 2004 and climbed the national wrestling ladder rung by rung, based out of the Burnaby Mountain Wrestling Club.
There he has been coached by former Canadian Olympic coach Mike Jones and current Olympic coach Dave McKay. They both believe Garcia's talents and dedication can result in a medal on the mats.
straight S "This is (Garcia's) second shot at [the] Games and he should not be overwhelmed," remarked Jones. "It is however the toughest weight [class] in the world and you have to be extremely sharp and accept that on any given day you can be first."
It will all come down to confidence, said McKay.
"The biggest thing for Haislan is believing in himself," said McKay.
"He's right there in the mix, right in the mix in the competition for a medal."
WHEN - Aug. 12, men's 66-kg.
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