On February 20th Christine Nordhagen, who is a six time World Champion wrestler, gave a motivational speech to students in both Tumbler Ridge schools.
Nordhagen held the world title in 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, and 2001. Nordhagen was able to participate in the debut of women?s wrestling in Athens, Greece in the 2004 Summer Olympics.
Nordhagen grew up in the rural farming community of Hythe, Alberta. She attended Elementary school in Valhalla, junior high school in Hythe, and high school in Beaverlodge. Nordhagen then went on to the University of Alberta in Edmonton to embark on her teaching career. She signed up for wrestling as an added educational activity. Soon after signing up, Nordhagen found that she liked the sport, but faced the challenge of being the only female participant.
Nordhagen became discouraged when her classmates wouldn?t choose her as a partner for wrestling. She made the decision to quit the class. A classmate on the wrestling team asked Nordhagen to join him for a motivational speech he was giving to an elementary school the next day. Nordhagen begrudgingly went to the presentation and it was there that her attitude towards the sport of wrestling changed. Nordhagen?s classmate, Lee Nordhagen (who later became Christine?s husband), told the students the difference between having a positive and negative attitude and that the choices we make based on those attitudes affect the outcome in our lives.
Nordhagen decided that she would keep a positive attitude and continue with her wrestling class. She went on to compete in the Canadian Championships and then to Africa where she won the tournament and qualified for the Olympics in 2004. There were only four girls on the Canadian Wrestling team for the Olympics which were held in Athens, Greece.
Nordhagen encouraged the students of Tumbler Ridge Elementary to try their best at anything they do and to keep a positive attitude. She told the students of the phrase that kept her morale up for many years, which was, ?you are not born a winner, you are not born a loser, you are born a chooser?. She spoke to the children about avoiding peer pressure to do drugs and alcohol. She also advised the students to avoid hanging around the wrong friends that could lead to the wrong choices in life.
After the speech, Nordhagen demonstrated a mock wrestling match with a very enthusiastic member of the audience. She had wrestling attire on hand to show the students what a professional wrestler would wear in a match.
Nordhagen closed by telling the students at TRE that she would be mailing skipping ropes to all the students from her home in Calgary. She challenged the students to write a paragraph on what lesson was learned from her speech and how it can be used in their life. She said that she would also mail a ?Be All You Can Be? shirt to the best submission. The speech was followed by a short autograph session.