Olympian is home at Concordia 

By Daniel Rodrigues

Concordia. McGill. Beijing. Concordia.

It's been quite a journey for wrestler David Zilberman.

Wrestler David Zilberman, Jan. 2009. Magnifying glass

Wrestler David Zilberman, Jan. 2009.

By his graduation in 2006, Zilberman had earned three consecutive Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) medals while earning his undergrad degree in leisure science at Concordia, securing him the title as Concordia's 2005-06 male athlete of the year. In 2009, he returned to begin working towards a master’s degree in educational studies, again donning his maroon and gold singlet.

“It felt so good to come back to Concordia,” says Zilberman. “The student population, the atmosphere, everything about it is so special.”

But what happened between his two stretches at Concordia is where his journey really became special.

Following his graduation in 2006, Zilberman decided to attend neighbouring McGill University, again as an undergraduate.

“I never felt comfortable there,” said Zilberman. “There was no question. I was never going to wrestle for them.”

During this time, Zilberman would make quite a name for himself on both the national and international scenes outside of the academic althetics. While part of the Montreal Wrestling Club in 2007, he won the senior national championships and the Canadian Olympic qualifier cementing his place as Canada’s top wrestler in the 96kg weight class.

His success would continue into 2008 where he placed third in the first of two Olympic qualifying tournaments, earning a ticket to Beijing and a place among the world’s top 20 wrestlers.

“I didn’t believe it at first,” recalls Zilberman after qualifying for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. “I remember waking up that night and worrying about my qualifying match, but then I realized it had already happened.”

Making the Olympics was a dream come true and testament to all the years of hard work. It was an accomplishment he could share with his entire family, but one that was particularly special for his father. Victor Zilberman, an accomplished wrestler in his own day, has been David's coach his entire career.

However, the games were not as successful as Zilberman had hoped. He finished, as he describes, a disappointing 14th, losing his first round match.

Fortunately, Zilberman would be back in his comfort zone, and on the wrestling mat, soon enough. Now, he and the rest of his teammates are training for this year’s Canadian university championships scheduled for Feb. 27 and 28 in Calgary.

As for Zilberman, he maintains he will continue to wrestle for as long as possible, undoubtedly looking for another chance at Olympic success in London 2012.
But for now, he’s happy to be a Stinger again. He’s happy to be home.


Concordia University