It’s been a while since Carson Lee has been able to hit the wrestling mat wearing Canada’s maple leaf. Pending any COVID-19-related hurdles, he’s set to do it again this summer.
This wrestling season hasn’t quite gone as Lee would have hoped - COVID-19 kiboshed not only the international tournament season last summer but the USports wrestling season this past winter. The cancellations meant Lee was unable to compete internationally for Team Canada for the first time in three years - he hasn’t been able to regularly compete in over a year.
That, fingers crossed, will change this summer. Lee has been selected to represent Team Canada in his weight class at the upcoming United World Wrestling (UWW) Junior Pan-American Championships and Junior World Championships. It will be Lee’s last chance to participate in international junior tournaments before he ages out of the category and he will enter the international season as a serious threat to win gold in both events.
Next month, Lee is slated to take part in the Pan-American Championships in Oaxtepec, Mexico from June 9-13. The Pan-Am tournaments have been kind to Lee - he has won three silver medals at Pan-Am competitions (which cover North America and South American wrestlers) at different levels. Following Pan-Ams, Lee then plans to go to the Junior World Championships August 16-22 in Ufa, Russia.
The last time Lee took part in international level competition was in 2019, when he took part in the Junior Pan-Ams and won a silver medal in the 79-kilogram category. Lee also earned a silver in the 79-kilogram category in the Canada Cup in Calgary - mere days after graduating from Hapnot Collegiate - and took part in the Junior World Championships in August, finishing 24th after an early loss.
The international travel and training costs for competing are high - so high, in fact, that Lee and his family are planning to fundraise to cover some of the costs. The Lee family has set up a Gofundme for Carson’s expenses, doing the family’s now-traditional fundraiser - taking a Flin Flon flag to different events around the world, with the signatures of financial supporters signed on the flag. The family now has a new flag waiting for a fresh round of names.
Carson’s older brother Hunter has already taken part in two international tournaments this year as part of Canada’s senior national team, finishing 20th in the International Ukrainian Tournament in February and 10th in the Matteo Pellicone Tournament in March.