Wrestling (2018)Inducting a female wrestler is a first for the Saskatoon Sports Hall of Fame. Typical Viola Yanik.
Yanik competed in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, which were the first Olympics with women's wrestling. She won three of her four matches to finish fifth. Only the gold medallist from Japan had a better record.
Her story began in high school. When she came out Coach Dave Elder had to improve her strength and skill. She won the city high school championship in Saskatoon from Grade 9 through Grade 12. She won high school provincials three times.
The medal haul continued in university. Yanik won the Canada West conference title three times with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies. She became the first woman in the Huskies program to score three top three finishes in the Canadian university championships
Bring on the world.
Yanik finished second in the world university championships. She finished second in the Pan-American Games. At the 2003 world wrestling championships in New York, she was the only Canadian (male or female) to win a medal, placing third. The bronze meant Canada secured a spot in her weight class for the 2004 Olympics. In a best-of-three showdown to decide who would go to Greece for the Games, Yanik met Ontario's Tara Hedican, who had defeated Yanik in the university final earlier in the year. Yanik won the series 2-1.