‘You have to find tricks to stay focused’
Current Concordia student Ecaterina Guica will also be competing in judo for Canada in Rio. She qualified for her first Olympic Games after earning silver in the 52 kg category at the Pan American Championships in Havana in April.
Guica also earned silver at the Pan Am Games in Toronto last summer. Like Pessoa, she was born into the sport. Her father, Catalin was a three-time Romanian champion who opened his own club when Ecaterina was five.
She took to it right away. “At first it was just an opportunity to be with my dad and my sister all the time,” she told CTV. “But then I did my first international trip as a kid and saw what it was to be around people who are really great at something they do — it’s really inspiring.”
The psychology major discussed how she deals with the pressure of competing on the world stage. “It’s actually really hard not to let the stress become overwhelming before a judo fight because you’re alone out there,” she said. “You have to find tricks to stay focused and not get distracted.”