Thursday, 25 December 2008

ari visits xtreme couture gym in las vegas

i went to las vegas a few weeks ago to meet randy couture and see his gym.  i spent an hour getting to know randy - he seems like a nice guy.

one of my goals for 2009 is to open a gym in calgary so i was interested to see how he ran his gym in vegas. i really liked his setup. i think i should be able to do something similar in calgary.

Seasons Greetings

As many of you know I competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the sport of wrestling. I spent a lot of time and energy preparing for my Olympic journey.  The process was great and it was well worth the effort. If you would like to know more about my Olympic journey then explore the rest of my blog.

My biggest sponsors were the clients of Taub Law Office. Even though I didn¹t win a gold medal at the Olympics, you deserve a gold medal for supporting me on my quest. Thank you for your support.

Now it is time for me to refocus and take Taub Law Office to the Olympics. You will hear more from me over the next few months setting out our Olympic Journey.

Our office wishes you a healthy, happy and prosperous 2009.

We look forward to working with you to achieve your goals and we are committed to helping you make your dreams come true.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Buy US distress mortgage paper

i am working with one of my clients to set up an investment where we buy US distress mortgage paper. let me know if you are interested in learning more about this investment. i should have details in the next few weeks.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008


I've started doing some public speaking about my Olympic journey and the valuable lessons I learned from it. Contact my office for more information or if you'd like me to speak at your event.

biking - my new obsession

ever since i got back from china i have been thinking about what i will do for exercise. the only thing i am really interested in now is biking. i have been out on my road bike and my mountain bike quite a bit in the last few months. i am now riding to work 3 days per week and loving it. the cold weather doesn't bother me at all.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

aug 20, 2008

i keep meaning to post pictures and videos from the last few weeks. my competition is over but it seems like i am still busy. sarah was here with me until yesterday and we went to the great wall. we also went and watched track several times. i saw bolt break the 100m world record which was pretty fun. sarah enjoyed the woman's 10k which to most people is like watching paint dry but to a distance runner is great fun. we also went shopping at silk road which is a big bazaar in which you can bargain for almost anything. my house will now be a little more full. last night i went to 'bud' house - imagine red carpet entrance, free beer and many ladies in great shape most of whom had too much free beer. michael phelps had a section blocked off for his friends. evander hollyfield was there as well. a good time was had by most.  i took a cab back to the village with 2 brits. one was chris hoy [sp?] who won 3 gold medals in track cycling and the other was a journalist who wrote a book on british cycling. apparently the guy is writing a new chapter for a special edition related to the 2008 olympics and he promised to mention our cab ride which was quite interesting - we were driving around beijing at 4 am and the taxi was going very slow. it also stopped to ask every other cab how to get to the village. you gotta love it when the cabie doesn't know where to go.

the olympic village is an interesting place. when we got here most people were a little nervous about their upcoming competition. then people compete and virtually all of them are disappointed with the outcome. only a very small percentage of people win olympic gold. someone pointed out to me that the olympics are about losing and i think he was correct. most athletes here are disappointed and trying to figure out how it was that they dedicated their lives to becoming great in their sport with the culmination being a loss at the olympics followed by obscurity [ and maybe mounting debt] at home. some will over time realize that the process of becoming an olympian is the valuable part - the lessons learned and obstacles overcome being much more important over time than the official result. this process may take some time and many will feel depressed that participation in the olympics - rather than the journey - didn't change their life.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

aug 15, 2008

many of you saw my match yesterday with hungary which i lost. he was a tough guy to draw first match - he is really good but not quite good enough to make the final. losing to a guy like this meant the end of my competition as i was eliminated. the match felt like a war. i was ramming him with my body as hard as i could and he was hitting back a little harder. i tried headbutting him - which i did repeatedly and as hard as possible. it didn't slow him down much but the right side of my head is one big bruise and my right eye is almost swollen shut today. it is a funny color as well. i will try and post a picture of it soon. thanks to everyone who made comments on the blog - i enjoyed reading them. today i watched swimming at the water cube in the morning. i saw phelps win his 6th gold medal and it looked like he didn't even need to try very hard. the sky was blue and the sun was shining in the afternoon so i spent some time at the pool taking in the sights. tonight i will go to the bird's nest to watch track with sarah and elana. after that we may sample some chinese beer at a local hotspot murray wants to check out.

my plan is to retire from competitive wrestling now but at dinner last night clive was trying to talk me into sticking around for commonwealth games in 2010. i don't think i will make that decision for a little while. i have been thinking about what to do now - wrestling has filled the extra space in my life for so many years [the parts not taken up with work and kids].  i think i may plan a bike trip for next summer which will keep me motiviated to continue training while i am on a sarah imposed house arrest for the next few months. i think she will tire of having me around too much and invite me to begin training for something again - at least i hope so.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

aug 13, 2008

i get to compete in the olympics tomorrow which i think is pretty cool. you can probably find my draw online at i haven't looked so i don't know who i compete against first. the fila website will also have all matches but you will need to pay $5 to watch for one day. cbc said they may televise my first match live in their prime time show on aug 13 in calgary. apparently that is when their feature story about me will also run. they spent a lot of time getting footage so it will be interesting to see which parts they use.

i like getting comments on my blog. thanks to all who wrote in. for a while it seemed like i was writing to myself.

i will be at canada house having a beer with sarah, elana and murray tomorrow night. i can already taste it - seems like forever since i got to have a few drinks. i may have a bit too much in order to compensate for past abstinence. spectating on aug 15 may not be that fun but i will try. perhaps the beer stands on every corner will help.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

aug 11, 2008

today was my last day of training before my competition. tomorrow is a rest day and aug 13 i weigh in. sarah and my sister arrive in china tomorrow. the weather was great today. it was relatively cool and it felt amazing after the serious heat and humidity of the last 10 days. the greco competition begins tomorrow for the light guys. i will go and watch for a little while to see how the referees are interpreting the rules - this seems to change from tournament to tournament. the way they call the clinch is really important because it will determine how much each guy can cheat [and thus not get launched]. i am also interested to see if they will award points for passivity. this hasn't been done at a high level competition for a few years, however my opponent was awarded points for this at a tournament in italy this summer. a referee can pretty much determine who wins a close match if they make this call.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

One Week To Go!!!!

With just one more week of training left until Ari's Olympic debut, training has never looked better!  After a very intense training session today Ari still had enough energy left to be jumping around between practice matches while his training partner was left exhausted and gasping for breath.  With the concerns of heat, humidity, and pollution affecting athletes' ability to catch their breath, Ari has shown no signs of of hinderence.  This is an excellent advantage to Ari because when push comes to shove (literally in Ari's case) the one with the most gas left in his gas tank will be the one to prevail in a match.  WIth an active recovery and opening ceromonies on schedule for tomorrow evening, Ari is getting ready to compete with the best in the world!

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

aug 7, 2008

weather continues to be hot and very humid. training was really good today. i wrestled full out with egypt in the standing position and with him on top of me. my shoulder felt really good. the only thing i am not doing yet is my gut wrench. i did some with a dummy today and it didn't hurt so maybe i will try some on a real person on saturday. tomorrow i will do a short workout in the gym in the morning. opening ceremonies are tomorrow night.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

article on ari written by a reuters journalist

RTRS-Olympics-Wrestling-Taub proves the power of persistence       By Alan Baldwin
        BEIJING, Aug 6 (Reuters) - A less determined man than Ari Taub might have felt he was destined never to become an Olympic athlete.
    The Canadian super-heavyweight Greco-Roman wrestler has suffered more blocks and body blows outside the ring than in it over the past two decades.
       A first time Olympian at an age when most wrestlers have retired, the 37-year-old's presence in Beijing marks him out as the embodiment of the ideal that the taking part matters as much as the winning.
    In 1992, Taub qualified for the Barcelona Olympics as the youngest member of Canada's freestyle team.
    "Then one of the other guys threatened to sue the federation and they ended up giving him a wrestle-off, which I proceeded to lose a couple of weeks before the Olympics," the Calgary lawyer told Reuters at the athletes' village on Wednesday.
    "I had already gotten all my stuff and the letter from the prime minister saying congratulations. So I didn't go to '92."
    The following year Taub was diagnosed with a neck injury and told that he risked ending up as a quadriplegic if he continued wrestling. So he quit, went to law school and started a family.
    That might have been the end of it, particularly when he found himself grappling with chronic fatigue.
    After "lying in bed for a couple of years", his thoughts turned to coaching. And then came the revelation.
    "I went to the doctor to see if I was going to become a quad(riplegic) by coaching and the guy did an MRI (scan) and laughed at me and said 'you're good to go.'" His injury had been misdiagnosed all along.
        Others might have cursed the lost decade. Taub, who admitted he had been "a little disappointed", recognised a blessing in disguise.  He had a qualification, a family and renewed hope.
        But still there were obstacles to overcome.
        By 2004 he won the national Olympic trials as Canadian Greco-Roman number one only to be told he was ineligible for the Athens Games because he lacked international matches. Another four-year wait became inevitable.
        After all that, the qualification for Beijing was an anti-climax. He secured his place simply by stepping on the scales at the Pan American championships.
        "I've said all along it's really more about the journey than the actual event," he declared on Wednesday. "I'm happy that I'm here, but I'm really happy about all the steps I've taken to get here, the choices I've made in my life. 
        "The Olympics aren't important. Someone could take the Olympics away from me today and say 'Sorry, you don't get to compete.'
        "But they can't take away the last 20 years. They can't take away all the obstacles that I've overcome, all of the times where I've had the opportunity to work harder and overcome or say 'I just can't do it, sorry.'
        "I've had so many of those opportunities to say I'm not sure I can do it...but I've been able to say 'Okay, I think this is right for me, this is what I'm going to do.
        "I actually believe now that I can go home to the rest of my life and implement those principles and be successful. It's closure. My wife will be very happy that it is."
    (For more stories visit our multimedia website "Road to Beijing" at; and see our blog at
Alan Baldwin
Motor Racing Correspondent

Thomson Reuters

Phone: +44 020 7542 7933
Mobile: 07990 560 466

aug 6, 2008

i have so many pictures and videos to post but the internet is hard to use here. china has blocked sites and the connection is really slow. also, it is amazing how little spare time i have here. the village is huge and we walk everywhere. anyone who knows me well will know how much that thrills me. my shirt is soaked 10 steps out the door each morning. it doesn't dry for the rest of the day because it is so humid. the air conditioning in my room is amazing but the bed still feels damp every day. people here live in a perpetual state of dampness.

murray brought portable speakers for my ipod which i carry around the village with me. it creates quite a stir especially from the chinese volunteers who go bug eyed. they really like it but my act of defiance/individuality is quite shocking for them. i might have a tough time conforming to chinese norms.

wrestling practice yesterday was great. i wrestled standing with bulgaria and we went at each other 100%. my shoulder felt good. i also had the romanian freestyle guy try and turn me. he couldn't do it and my shoulder felt strong. tomorrow i get to do 2 matches unless slavi thinks better of it at the last minute.

the village is filling up and my favorite place, other than my air conditioned room, is the outdoor pool. it is always busy and it seems that everyone is trying to see who can wear the smallest bathing suit. the guys wear these things that don't really cover the top of their bum. the girls wear things that are even smaller. i will get pictures and post them as soon as i can.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

aug 4, 2008 part 2

i actually wrote the last post a few days ago but didn't get it posted. my shoulder is feeling a little better today. i may get to do some stuff on the mat today. i still can't use the muscles for a 100% contraction so i can't do any of my offence while standing or on the ground. i will be happy if i can get back the feel of pushing on my feet a little bit this morning. murray got here last night. he didn't have his accreditation when he landed and it took him 4 hours to get from the airport to the village. he was a little tired last night. however, as usual for him, he has already explored more of the village than i have. by tonight he will know it all like the back of his hand. then to the rest of beijing - he may not have enough time for that. apparently it takes 90 minutes to get to the city center via subway from the village. being stuffed in a subway like a sardine in this heat would be like torture. i may try and find a better way to go explore there.

the village is interesting because it is like going to the zoo where you see all kinds of strange sizes and shapes. the athletes are all exceptional in some way. some are huge. some are really skinny and really tall. the female gymnasts are so short they almost look like midgets yet some of them are quite packed. a few of the american girls have legs that wouldn't be out of place on a large male wrestler. i asked how they got like that and the american trainer said they were dropped on their head as babies and as such were immune to the pain of training 15 hours per days since they were 3.

the australian female rowers are all around 6 feet tall, blond and look like models who spend their days training instead of trying on clothes. they are easy on the eyes. they also make up the largest part of the austrailian team which is over 400 athletes. i think this is almost twice as much as canada sent. there is apparently something to be said for putting  effort into developing summer sport athletes.

aug 4, 2008

We traveled to china on Thursday. The plane ride was good. We all got to sit in the big boy seats. It was the first time slavi was in the lie flat seats and he said he slept for 8 of the 11.5 hours from Vancouver to china. The seats are small for me so I didn't sleep much but I was comfortable and well fed and watered. I also watched 3 movies. A good time was had by all. Beijing was interesting to see from the air. There are virtually no cars on the roads and the smog is going away quickly. The trip from the airport to the village was very efficient. We had our own bus and our own lane to drive in. There are guards everywhere whose sole purpose it seems is to make sure we have everything we need and nobody gets in our way. There must be more Olympic volunteers then athletes which is saying a lot as I think there are 16,000 athletes. The facilities in the village are great. Food  - any and every kind you want including mcdonalds for those who want to indulge. The workout facility in the village is better than anything I have ever seen in Canada.


This morning we went to the practice facility. There are 14 mats each with their own throwing dummies. We had 3 or 4 volunteers who showed us where to go and made sure we had everything we needed. They brought drinks and snacks. They asked if we wanted the air conditioning turned up or down.


The North American media has been making a big deal of many supposed problems with these games. From what I can see these games will be amazing. It is clear that china has done everything it can to make everything perfect. There is no shortage of humanity in this country and it seems they have all been mobalized to help in the Olympic effort.


The smog problem - what smog problem? The sky is clear blue, not a cloud in the sky. You can see some smog if you look straight ahead instead of up. However, this is true of most big cities. My guess is the smog will decrease as the opening ceremonies get closer.


It is hot here. I think today is 34. However, people talk about something called the humidex [sp?] index. It is apparently 44 which is supposed to be the heat when you take into account the humididty as well.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

july 30, 2008

below is a link to an interview of me on cbc radio a few days ago.

interview of ari taub on cbc radio on july 29, 2008

today i was on the mat with beamer. beamer and nico and several other guys at the dinos club have been my training partners in calgary for the last several years. i would never be in the position i am today if it wasn't for their help. thanks guys.

today we did a pummelling match and i felt pretty good. we also worked on ground defence - specifically defence of a lift. this is important. i lost to france and hungary on this move at competitions this summer. i don't want to get scored on with this move in china. my shoulder is getting better but it still hurts when i try and do any of my offensive moves.

tomorrow morning i fly to china. hard to believe we are finally here. i am pretty excited to get on that plane.

cbc tv interviewed me again today for a feature they will be showing on their olympic coverage. they got lots of shots with sarah and the kids. i bet the kids will be pretty excited to see themselves on tv.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

july 29, 2008

i am now back in calgary for a few days. i am having trouble keeping up with the pace here after being away for a few months. i don't know how i ever managed to do work, family and training at the same time. my kids have changed so much in the last 3 months. the girls sound more like sarah every day. they even have the 'tone' now. the boys learned to swim over night. nobody needs life jackets in the pool anymore.

my shoulder has made great progress in the last few days. i will do some standing work on the mat tomorrow. hopefully it wont get hurt again. i am cautiously optimistic that the shoulder will be close to 100% for my competition.

i have enjoyed the last few months and i wish the olympics were not for another year so i could keep doing this more. the work we have done this year has started to pay dividends and i am now able to train at a higher level while continuing to recover so i can maintain that pace of training.

Friday, 25 July 2008

july 25, 2008

hard to believe another week has gone by without a post from me. the week started out good when i got to do some work on the mat. slavi was cautious as usual and i was the opposite. he kept telling me to stop and be happy with my gains. i refused to listen and ended up tearing the muscles in my shoulder again. it isn't as bad as the first time, but it was bad enough to stop me from being on the mat. the stubbornness that usually serves me so well came back to haunt me. the last few days have been spent doing cross training and physio. a few days ago i did 70 pushups in a row. if you would have told me a few months ago that i would be able to do 70 pushups in a row i would have laughed at you. now 100 seems possible before china. i also did 60 of slavi's stomach torture. today we did 3 matches on the bike in the morning and weights followed by 1 match on the upper body bike this afternoon. this was a big training day and i felt good about my conditioning. i had no trouble handling heart rates which would have caused a heart attack a few months ago. the last few weeks before the olympics are a delicate time. there isn't much you can do to improve your performance or readiness to compete but there is a lot that could go wrong. if i hurt my shoulder again then i likely won't be ready to compete properly in china. as it stands i will go to china without having trained on the mat for the last month. if the shoulder gets back to 100% then this will not be a total disaster. i have 20 years of experience wrestling. 4 weeks here or there won't make that much difference.

i have one more workout tomorrow and then i go home on sunday. i keep thinking that my visits home will be relaxing. sarah will laugh at that. my work schedule is already full. i need to see the doctor to get a cortisone shot in my wrist. cbc radio wants me for an interview. cbc tv wants to video me with the rest of my family. slavi has training all planned out. my 4 day break in calgary is now jammed. i will instead rest on the way to china on thursday next week.

i am reading rulon gardner's book called 'never stop pushing'. it is appropriately named for him and for me. rulon was the 2000 heavyweight olympic champion in greco wrestling and a friend of mine for many years. we actually competed against each other in university and i trained with him before the 2004 olympics.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Olympic Training Center



The Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center (CSOTC) is a place where athletes of a wide variety of sports can come and train with the best in the world.  With the Olympic rings and quotations from past Olympians posted every you look, it creates an atmosphere of greatness and provides the focus and motivation to train as hard as you can.

The CSOTC has dorms, cafeteria, pools, weightrooms, sports medicine and recovery centers as well as venues for wrestling, gymnastics, shooting and many more.  This is truly a high performance sports location.






Back On The Mats!

back on the mats


Today Ari had his most intensive workout on the mats in the past 3 weeks.  After suffering a shoulder injury 3 weeks ago while training in Prague, Ari has been in the process of strengthening and rehabilitating his shoulder in preparation for Beijing.  In an effort not to risk re-injury, the technique training on the wrestling mats has been kept to a minimum because of the unpredictable nature of movements in wrestling.  When recovering from injury it is important to progress from stable to unstable exercises followed by the sport specific movements in training.  With the nature of wrestling to pull and throw your opponent off guard, this type of training possesses the largest and most uncertain movements with the highest risk of re-injury.  Ari is excited about being the final stages of his rehabilitation and is getting is sights focused on Beijing!

Friday, 18 July 2008

july 18, 2008

today i got to do some work on the mat. i pushed on my feet for about 20 minutes. i did a gut wrench with only a little pain. i also moved all 4 directions on the mat without too much problem. physio also hammered me today which is good because my lat is getting much better.

it took forever to do laundry today because the dryer we picked was a bit of a dud.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

july 17, 2008

time flys when you are having fun. i really do mean to write a post every day but it doesn't seem to happen. the last few days have been filled with physio for my shoulder and cross training. my shoulder is getting better quickly now. my range of motion is almost full and strength at many angles is close to 80%. today i did 58 pushups in a row and 50 of slavi's situp exercise. i also did the equivalent of 3 matches on the bike. there was much sweat in my world today. tomorrow i get to do some work on the mat but slavi will keep a close eye out to make sure i don't do too much. he is quite concerned about how often i seem to get hurt since we are only 26 days away from competition. any new injury could be a big problem. i don't have much else to report. the life of a full time athlete being sort of monotonous - we eat and train and then rest and eat again so we can train again. we get the odd day off which is used to rest more so we can train more the next day.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

july 12, 2008

i can't believe it has been a week since my last post. time has flown by. i haven't been able to train on the mat so i have been doing lots of cross training instead. i have also been in physio for several hours each day. i have done some base cardio work as well as intervals on the bike. pushups and core exercises are a constant. i can now do 53 pushups in a row and 40 of slavi's core torture exercise. we started with sets of 10 just a few months ago. i also did dumbbell bench press with just my left arm. today i did a set of 10 at 80 pounds. my left pec continues to get stronger. once i get to 110 pound dumbbells i will be where i was at last year. i hope to do this before the end of july.

a few years ago one of the retired wrestlers in calgary who is known to be a pushup king did 110 pushups in a row. he is a little guy - weighing about half as much as me. i keep thinking of that number as my goal for pushups. we will see how close i can get.

it is now apparent that my shoulder injury is worse than i had hoped. i partially tore my right triceps and lat as well as enlarging the slap legion that already existed in my right shoulder. i need to be careful with my rehab because there is only enough time for one recovery. if i re injure this area then it is unlikely that i will be healthy enough to compete effectively in china. this is a difficult situation because i really want to get back on the mat in order to prepare optimally for china. i made significant progress this week and as a result the pain in my shoulder is much reduced and the strength is up. i am constantly being reminded by slavi and murray to be careful and not push too hard. i have a history of continually striving for more when i feel comfortable with the status quo. this has often got me in trouble as i get sick or hurt and then take a step back. i think slavi will let me do some ground movement drills on the mat on monday. i think i can also do some seated rowing which i couldn't even think about last week. hopefully next week i can start doing some technique on the mat.

the weather has been hot - it was 100 degrees on friday.

i have been using 2 new puffers - one is flovent, a corticosteroid and the other is an older version of Ventolin which is only available in europe. i think they have eased the tightness in my chest from exercise induced asthma. my symptoms are worse in hot, humid and polluted environments. think i may need this medicine in china?????

Monday, 7 July 2008

july 7, 2008

we travelled to colorado springs yesterday. it took 12 hours and was a comedy of errors. my plane was broken so i sat at the calgary airport for 6.5 hours waiting for another one to arrive. then we landed in denver and the ground crew weren't there because united didn't want to pay them overtime. as a result, it took a while to get off the plane and even longer to get our bags. by this time the car rental company we reserved with was closed. we went to another one and rented a smaller car for a bigger price. it was midnight by this time as the guy at hertz took 20 minutes to type in my drivers license. we were starving so we pulled into a gas station to get some food. it has been a long time since i had a gas station hamburger - they are terrible. i washed that down with a chocolate bar - a dinner for champions. we finally got to our hotel at 1:30 am.

i spent most of today in physio. we also trained once. i got a new record for push ups in a row - 46. lets see if i can get to 60 by the end of july.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

july 5, 2008

i go to colorado tomorrow.

my shoulder is still quite sore. i partially tore my lat and triceps. i can't do anything useful on the mat now because it hurts too much. i will spend next week in physio and cross training. hopefully i will then be ready for some technical work on the mat. this injury has messed up my training plan. july was supposed to be filled with intense wrestling which is the final preparation phase before my taper in august. i don't know if i will be able to wrestle hard even once before i go to china. on a positive note, i won't be over trained when i compete in china.

i did 45 pushups in a row last night - a new record. my pec continues to get stronger.

sportsnet spent a few hours with me today asking about the journey. they will show something between july 30 and august 8. on tv. it will also be on their website.

i met with some of my sponsors last week. it was great to find out how interested they are in helping me. thanks guys.

Monday, 30 June 2008

JUNE 29, 2008

it has been nice to be home for a few days. sarah and my girls are in montreal this weekend for my cousin's wedding. i have the boys at home. we went to the farmer's market in the morning and we are going swimming this afternoon.  next week will be busy as i have to do some work at my office as well as train.  i also have several interviews booked this week since it is really the last time i will be home for more than a few days before going to china.

my shoulder is feeling better. i have been doing rehab exercises several times per day and have been treated by murray a few times since getting home. i am optimistic that it will be good enough to go to colorado next week for my next training camp.

i have been thinking about what has happened over the last several months and it has been quite interesting. it seems like my life these days is all about overcoming obstacles. here is a list:

dealing with work while training full time in europe;

being away from my family;

organizing training camps, being my own travel agent and generally coordinating the logistics of roaming the world to train and compete;

training at a high level at my advanced age - i don't recover quite as fast as the younger guys and i get hurt a liitle more often. in december it was my neck and now my right shoulder;

june 30, 2008

i did 40 pushups in a row today. a new record.

i saw the doctor about my shoulder. they think i have damaged something in the capsule. i am scheduled for an mri on wednesday to see for sure.

Friday, 27 June 2008

june 27, 2008

German grand prix - last weekend

There were a lot of tough guys in my weight class. The Cuban world champion won the tournament. My participation was short lived although I was happy with my performance and my progress over the last several weeks. I lost my first match to france who was 5that the world championships last year. However, I have improved in every area we have worked on. My fitness was much improved. I controlled the standing position in both periods and was relaxed in the process. This is vital because you get tired much more quickly if you aren't relaxed during a match. This may seem like an oxymoron, but it is similar to sprinting. Sprinters must be relaxed while running as fast as they can. Wrestlers must also be relaxed while they fight for their lives on the mat. My ground defense has improved  a lot as well. I stopped france's gut wrench both periods.  We have been working on gut wrench defense quite a bit lately so I was pretty focused on it in the match. Unfortunately, I was a little too focused on it as france lifted me and got a turn in the second round to win the match. This is the same thing that hungary scored points on me with in the Italian tournament. We will spend a lot of time in the next month working on this situation.  I think I will be able to defend it well in china. Slavi's plan has been methodical and we just hadn't got to this technique yet. I am confident that once we practice it for a while that I will recognize the situation and make the proper defense. France lost his next match to belarussia so I was eliminated from the tournament. During training before the tournament I got a chance to train with Poland and belorusssia which is good because I hadn't trained with them before. I have much less experience than any other Olympian in my weight [they have all wrestled each other before]. This is because most of them are from Europe or the Russian republics and they all go to the same competitions. Also, I have done freestyle most of my career so I am playing a little bit of catch up now.

On Monday we flew to Prague. It is a nice city with lots of old buildings to look at. I did 30 pushups in a row that day - a new record for my injured left pec.  My friend, david vala, the 120 kg guy from czech republic trained with me on Tuesday. He was 2ndat the European championships last year but failed to qualify for china. He beat me at the 2006 worlds [gut wrench first round and lift off the clinch second round]. Training with him was a good way to measure my progress. He couldn't turn me on Tuesday nor score on me while we were standing. I am getting much better. We lifted weights Tuesday afternoon and I recorded new maximums for bench and seated rows for this year. I will continue to get stronger as my pec heals.

Wednesday morning we were on the mat again. Practice was going well. I was feeling pretty good even though we went really hard on Tuesday. Then things went south in a hurry. I hurt my right shoulder in a scramble - heard and felt something rip or let go.  This is never a good sign and I stopped practice right away.  The rest of the day was spent with murray icing and getting treated.  It was obvious that the injury was fairly significant and that I wouldn't be able to compete in the tournament this weekend.  After talking with slavi and murray, we decided to fly home early and rehab the shoulder in Calgary. So I flew home on Thursday after spending about 2 hours on the phone with air Canada sorting out the plane ticket changes. We all flew on different routes at different times because of a lack of seats and pricing rules for ticket changes.

My nose continues to be stuffed - mostly at night. Murray has allergies now as well. I have been taking the medicine for so long now that I wonder if I am addicted to it.

The hotel in Prague was pretty nice but they did some annoying things - they turn off the air conditioning when they think it isn't that hot out. As a result, my room was nice during the day, but hot at night. So much for a great sleep. The hotel has a taxi service that is owned by the hotel. I asked them to call me a taxi and we got one of these hotel cars which is fine except they charge twice as much as a regular taxi. I complained to the front desk and they apologized for the confusion. I don't think there was any confusion. Prague is a huge tourist destination and the locals seem to enjoy ripping off the tourists.

I was in the old city on Wednesday night.  There were several thousand soccer fans out to watch the euro 2008 semi finals on outdoor screens. I also saw the first museum that I thought would be really interesting to walk through and inspect in detail - it was a museum of historical sexual apparatis. We didn't go in as I was tired and figured I would come back in the next day or two. The advertisements were interesting - I was excited to see how things were done in the dark ages and I saw my first real chastity belt. I don't think it would be very fun to be in one of those.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

june 21, 2008

It has been a long time since my last post. We stayed in Hennef for the first part of last week. The weather was cool and I slept ok for the first time in weeks. My heart rate came down and I started to feel better. This past week was designed to be a recovery week so we didn't do much hard training.


As some of you know, I hurt my neck in December at Canadian Olympic trials. Most of you don't know that the injury was quite serious. I irritated a nerve coming out of my neck that runs down into my left arm. I lost virtually all my strength in that arm. In fact, I couldn't do even one proper pushup. I couldn't even flex my pec muscles. I was in pain virtually 24 hours per day. It was weeks before I was able to sleep without pain killers. By the time I came to Europe at the beginning of May, I had about 50% of my strength back in my left arm. However, this number is deceiving because the muscles that were unaffected by the injury were compensating for the injured ones. I still couldn't flex my left pec properly. I have worked with murray daily doing specific exercises designed to isolate the left pec and try and stimulate it. The treatments have been working. Last Tuesday, I was able to do 26 pushups in a row, followed by 3 more sets of 20 pushups. This isn't all that much for a normal Olympic wrestler but I was very excited because of how much better my left arm was doing. That same day, I took the first steps toward climbing a rope again. I haven't been able to do this for a few years because of nagging elbow and wrist injuries which never seemed to heal. The daily treatments from murray have got these injuries under control now as well. The point of my rambling is to say that my body hasn't felt this good in years and I feel like I am progressing well for a peak in china.


Last Wednesday we traveled from Hennef to Dortmund via train. There is a competition in Dortmund today and tomorrow. It is called the German Grand Prix and it looks to be a quality competition with 21 countries competing.  I weigh in later today and compete tomorrow. Then on Monday we fly to Prague for a week of training and then a competition on june 28. Then I fly home on june 29. I have now been in Europe for 6 weeks straight. This is the longest period I have ever been away from home. I will be happy to sleep in my own bed again for a few days. I am trying not to think about the fact that I am only home for 6 days before going to Colorado for 3 weeks. My 6 days at home are supposed to be a recovery from training, which they may end up being. However, I will be very busy doing other things. CBC, TSN and the Calgary Sun all want to do interviews. Two of my clients have big real estate deals closing which require my attention. I need to do some testing and see my doctor about how we will deal with my asthma in china. I also wouldn't mind seeing my wife and kids a bit. I am hoping to have some kind of get together with some of my friends as well. I have been so busy over the last few years with wrestling, work and kids that I sometimes need to go through my contact list to remember my friend's names never mind their phone numbers. While in Europe I realized that since making the Olympic team in December, I haven't had any sort of celebration with my friends. Time is running out - I am only home june 30 - july 6 and july 27 - 31. Otherwise I am out of the country until after china. Murray suggested getting a radio station to host a block party. Apparently one station does this on a regular basis. If somebody reading this blog wants to organize this, it would be great. An outdoor bbq on my street would be perfect. The kids can run around and cause trouble while anyone interested in showing up can do so. I have many pictures and videos which I will try and post in the next few days.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

june 12, 2008

we were on the mat twice today. it hurts to get up, sit down and everything in between. murray got here today which made me happy. everyone here watched the german soccer team play in euro 2008 - germany lost so there were a lot of disappointed people here. it is cool and rainy today - perfect weather for me to sleep great.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

june 11, 2008

yesterday we wrestled hard and today was a bit easier - we lifted weights in the morning and rested in the afternoon. tonight the german team had a bbq. it was really good. there were many different kinds of meat and the german beer wasn't bad either. it has been months since i had a drink so the beer i had on an empty stomach before dinner kicked in nicely. murray gets here tomorrow. my body can't wait. i haven't slept much in the last 10 days because it has been so hot at night. today it has been cooler so i hope i get a good sleep. i have spent a number of hours over the last few days acting as travel agent again. i need to organize travel to dortmund next week, then to prague a few days later. i also need to sort out the camp in colorado springs in july. once this is all done my travel agency career will be over - none too soon. the food at this training center has been great. at lunch today i had antelope stew and asparagus soup followed by rice pudding. i took quite a bit of baggage with me to europe. a lot of it is food or supplements that i didn't want to buy in europe for fear of a positive drug test. i didn't spend that much time figuring out exactly how much to bring - i decided to err on the side of too much. well - i did a good job. i have a big container of protein powder that i won't even open on this trip along with a few other containers of other stuff. basically, i have carried around an entire bag full of stuff that i didn't need. this makes inter european travel much more fun.

Monday, 9 June 2008

june 9, 2008

today we travelled from frankfurt [oder] to hennef which is a city close to koln. the drive was 615 km and took about 8 hours because we were stuck in traffic a lot. it was fun to go 160 - 180 km/hr when there wasn't much traffic. hennef is a small town and we are staying at a sport school. the facilities are great here. my room is really nice by european standards and the training facilities and food are great.  it was hot today but it has cooled off at night so i will sleep better. my allergies are much better here as well. it probably helps that my window doesn't face a bunch of trees shedding fluff. the wrestling room here is even hotter than in frankfurt [oder] as the ceiling is low. this means less airspace which means the place heats up faster. we had to keep going to different places on the mat because each area we worked in would getso wet with sweat that we were slipping and sliding everywhere. murray comes back on thursday which is great because i continue to collect war wounds every day he is away.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

june 8, 2008

today is sunday so it is a rest day for me. i am reading my book and playing on the computer. i just found some allergy medicine in my things. too bad it took me all week to find it - i didn't sleep much this week because my nose was so stuffed up. i have been training with the number one german guy for the last few days. he is good and we have worked on my gut wrench a lot.  tomorrow i go to cologne where germany is having a one week national team camp. it is close to dortmund so i may go straight to dortmund after the camp. i am not sure if there will be people training there yet so i haven't finalized my plans.

i go home in 21 days. i am looking forward to sleeping in my own bed again. however, i won't be home for long as i am scheduled to go to colorado springs, where the US team is having a camp, on july 6.

i am almost finished my last book. i think i have one or two movies left to watch. i may be posting a lot more often over the next 3 weeks. murray comes back on thursday. this is good because my body needs some work and it is nice to have someone to talk to.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

picture of all the green stuff causing my allergies outside my window

picture of my fans used to keep me cool in the sauna which is my room

picture of my room in frankfurt

june 4, 2008

today i did weights in the morning and had the afternoon off. the strength in my left arm is coming back. i can almost flex my left pec properly now. my heart rate has been huge for the last few days which means i need to be careful or i may get sick. i haven't slept much the last few nights since we got to frankfurt as it is really hot in my room and there is no air conditioning. my allergies are acting up as well so my nose has been totally stuffed at night. i ran out of my allergy medicine and tried to get more from a pharmacy here yesterday. my sign language wasn't quite good enough because the medicine i got worked to stop a running nose, not a stuffed up nose. today one of the german wrestlers took me back and we got something else which works better. it just happens to be the same stuff murray had with him in italy. he offered it to me and for some reason i never got around to taking it from him. big mistake.

yesterday i wrestled in the evening. we did technique then standing wrestling and then ground wrestling. i have been having a hard time breathing lately. i think my allergies have been making it hard to catch my breath during hard exercise. hopefully my new medicine will solve this problem as well.

the food has been interesting here. breakfast is great - they make me fried eggs. lunch is usually mystery meat which is ok. however, it seems that they don't cook dinner so today i got lunch over again. one of the other days i got salami, cheese and bread.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

june 3, 2008

i have been in germany for 2 days now. i am in a place called frankfurt oder which is a small town in east germany close to the polish boarder. the weather has been really hot and my room doesn't have air conditioning. it is also allergy season so my nose is stuffed up and my eyes are itchy. i ran out of my allergy medicine and the stuff i got at the local pharmacy isn't working. the heat and my stuffy nose have made it so i haven't slept much in the last 2 nights. i have a tv in my room but it only gets german speaking programs which are quite boring for me as i don't speak german. the training facilities are good and so are my training partners. in fact, slavi was quite upset as some of them scored some points on me in practice.

Saturday, 31 May 2008

may 31, 2008

today was a rest day. i watched tennis and bike racing on tv. then i went downtown paris and checked out the sights. they were much the same as when i was here in 1997 so i went home and had dinner. on friday i wrestled in the morning and did some work in my real world job as a lawyer in the afternoon and evening. tomorrow i fly to germany for more training. below is a picture of the Arc de Triomphe.

video of ari training with cuba


video of murray and ari on the bus going to training in rome


video of ari lifting weights


video of ari training with china in rome


Thursday, 29 May 2008

may 29, 2008 continued

the french team is going to train in cuba on sunday so i will probably go to germany on sunday. i will be going to frankfurt. there are 2 cities named frankfurt in germany. the one i am going to is in east germany right on the polish boarder and is only a small town. in years past it was the place where the east german army teams trained. i haven't yet decided whether we will travel by train or plane. being a travel agent is more complicated than i thought. the internet sites for trains won't let me book my tickets because i will travel in less than 5 days [why this is important i don't know]. plane tickets are also a pain because the websites sometimes don't tell me if i can take extra baggage on the flight. it would be sad to get to the airport and find that i must throw away half of my stuff [there is a 20 kg limit for baggage on intereurope flights. some airlines charge for extra baggage. the one that fits my schedule best doesn't appear to allow more than 20 kg.]

may 29, 2008

wrestling room in paris at insep

We are now training in paris at insep which is france's national training center. nobody here has been able to turn me yet. i think the french coaches issued a challenge to their wrestlers for today's practice. apparently they will take turns trying to score on me on the ground. i think slavi will be  a little worked up because he hates it when people take points on me. the weather has been humid but cool which is great because i sleep better when it isn't so hot. the food has been pretty good. i was in france in 1997 and have many fond memories of this country.

posts from the last few days

May 19, 2008


This morning we were on the mat. I was sparring with Cuba, Hungary and Italy. The wrestling room doesn’t have any ventilation so it is difficult to breathe after all the oxygen gets used up by the athletes. It also gets very hot in the room and the humidity was 94% in Rome today. It was more in the room as we were all sweating quite a bit. I lost about 3 kilos of water this morning in training. Then we had lunch and a little rest. In the afternoon we lifted weights and then Murray worked on me. My body is feeling really good because Murray is working on me every day. Now it is dinner time and we are going to our favorite restaurant here. The cafeteria food is getting a little old and the portions are small. The guy who owns the restaurant is our best buddy now – his food is amazing. He uses olive oil and some kind of salt on his steaks which makes them great. The pasta is ok too. He also gives us bread which is heated on an open grill and then topped with the olive oil and salt. I don’t think I have ever enjoyed bread so much.


May 22, 2008

Today we traveled to the island of Sardinia for a competition on Saturday.  The airplane seats were very small and the plane was very full. After we sat on the runway for 45 minutes in the hot cramped plane, I was invited to exchange my seat for one with some leg room. The first one I was in was built for a person no taller than 5 feet and weighing no more than 120 pounds. There were many of these people on the plane who seemed quite comfortable. After moving to my new seat I said hello to the therapist for the freestyle team who was also on the plane. His name is Wilbur and he lives in Vancouver. He will be one of the therapists in China tasked with working with all athletes.


The Canadian Olympic freestyle team is also taking part in this competition and has already flown to Sardinia. They will then go to Iran for some training and a competition before heading home.



May 23, 2008

Today is the weigh in for my competition tomorrow. I was 2 kg over my weight limit of 122 kg when I woke up this morning. I had a small breakfast and went back to my room. People typically spend this day resting or sweating in an effort to make weight while conserving as much energy as possible for the competition tomorrow. My goal is to loose my weight at the last minute in order to ensure that my body is depleted of water and food for the shortest period of time possible. The weigh in is at 7:30 pm today which is very late – normally it is at 3 or 4 pm. A late weigh in is difficult for the athletes because it gives them less time to replenish their food and water before the start of the competition. There is no access to a bike or sauna so the only way loose water is to run or wrestle. As running doesn’t agree with my body, I will be wrestling. I will probably start at 4 or 5 pm in order to ensure I am on weight by the weigh in.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Preparing for Sardinia

Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean (second to Sicily).  It has a very elaborate history and very unique culture.  The inhabitants of Sardinia are formally recognized as a distinct people of Italy.  The most spoken language is of course Italian however Sardinian is also a common spoken language on the island.

For more about Sardinia, please follow the link


We depart for competition in Sassari, on May 22 and competition is on the 24th.   There will both freestyle and Greco-roman wrestling at this competition and Ari is the only Canadian Greco-roman wrestler competing.


Keep posted to hear more updates about Ari’s travels to Sardinia

Italian Training Center

The FILJKAM  is the Italian federation for wrestling, judo, karate, and martial arts.  Located just outside of Rome on the coast of the Mediterranean, it houses athletes who training here regularly as well as those who come for training camps and competitions.  This has been the training base for Ari for the past 2 weeks of training.  The facilities have a large dedicated wrestling room, weight rooms, martial arts rooms, soccer field, tennis courts, competition venue, dorm rooms, and dinning hall.  Here are some pictures of Ari’s home away from home.


Map of Ostia



Metro station at the training center




Sunday, 18 May 2008

Rest Day

Sunday is a rest day in most normal training programs for wrestlers worldwide. Today is Sunday and it was good to sleep in. We have done some hard training this past week and my body is a little sore. The rest day will allow my body to heal a bit before another hard week of training.

The weather has been hot and our dorm rooms do not have air conditioning so we haven't been sleeping as well as we do at home. It also doesn't help that the beds are made for midgets. My feet hang off the end of the bed and it is so narrow that I need to be careful not to fall off when I roll over at night. I normally sleep on my side with one arm stretched out to the side. Because the bed is narrow, my arm hangs off the bed and I often wake up with a pain by my elbow and it isn't until I fully wake up that I remember it is because the arm is lying hyperextended off the side of the bed while I sleep.

The food at the training center here in Rome is good cafeteria grub. However, it is far from great Italian cooking. Last night Murray and I went out to a small restaurant a few block from the training center. We had one of the best meals I have had in my life - 2 different types of pasta, 2 different types of steak and some great dessert. The owner / chef took a liking to us and made sure we were stuffed before leaving.

Today is my daughters' birthday [they are 7] as well as my dad's birthday [not quite 100].

Saturday, 17 May 2008


With the specificity of training for wrestling everyday, it is important not to forget about cross training.  Cross training implies doing workouts not specifically related to the sport you are training for, but have beneficial affect for the body to work different muscle groups that may not get worked in regular training sessions. 

Cross-training also has the added benefits of having fun and interacting with other nations as ‘teammates’ in friendly yet competitive games.

Today, Ari took part in a fun game of handball as part of the training.  Catch some of the highlights in the pictures and video as Ari scores big in the wrestlers’ international handball scrimmage!

Ari gets tips from coach

Strength and technique are 2 critical factors in wrestling.  Today Ari got a few handy tips from coach Slavi.

Seen here in yellow, Slavi gives pointers to Ari about body position and how to maneuver his opponent to help score crucial points in these upcoming matches.  As many matches are won or lost by a single point, it is important to maximize your chances with every opportunity, and to be able to create opportunities to score points.   Today was an easier training day physically but very heavy technically and mentally!


One or Ari’s many therapy interventions is known as Kinesiotape.  This special type of tape can be applied and left on the skin for 3-5 days.  Unlike regular athletic tape, this tape stretches with the body during all ranges of motion and is easily recognized by the distinctive, blue and pink colors. 

Building in reputation in the sporting world, Kinesiotape is now being seen on athletes in the Tour-de-France, Volleyball, baseball, football, Bobsleigh and of course wrestling.  The tape acts to help Ari’s nervous system maintain awareness of the area through a system called proprioception.  Every time Ari moves, the tape stretches or contracts on the skin and this causes the nervous system to become aware of the area around the tape.  This is an excellent way to maintain a therapeutic intervention while still doing his sport, something that until now has been very difficult to do.

Keep a look out for the pink and blue tape in many of Ari’s picturesTape on left elbow backright quad/ITband

Friday, 16 May 2008

Ari gets therapy

In order to maintain peak physical ability, part of a rigorous training program also includes daily therapy sessions.  Therapy is not always to fix what’s hurting but rather to make sure everything is functioning optimally.  In any given day Ari may receive a multitude of different therapies, some of these include:

  • Biomechanical analysis,

  • Active Release Techniques (ART),

  • chiropractic manipulation,

  • Graston, Kinesiotape,

  • Acupuncture (IMS and electro-acupuncture),

  • stretching,

  • rehabilitation exercises,

  • muscle stimulation/activation work…

All of this is carefully structured to enable Ari to train at maximum potential and to ensure the best possible physical conditioning for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing!

Strength and Conditioning

It takes amazing amounts of strength to be able to wrestle and toss around 120kg (almost 270 pounds!) opponents.  This requires a lot of dedication and motivation in the weight room to get as strong as possible to be able to withstand the pressures of a wrestling match.  As such, Ari spends time daily in the gym lifting very heavy weights so that his body can shake off any offensive attacks by his opponents and in return throw them around the mat and make it look easy – not a simple task!

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

A Day of Rest

It is easy to see how training wrestling technique and working out in the gym can benefit and improve Ari’s physical conditioning.  However a very important and sometimes overlooked component is REST.  For all the time spent training, the body has to take time to repair micro-damage to muscles caused by heavy lifting and wrestling.  Without proper rest and recovery the body can’t keep up and performances will slowly decrease as the body’s ability to adapt is impeded. 

Key factors for Ari’s recovery include:


-         Adaquate Sleep (quantity and quality)

-         Proper nutrition

-         Appropriate therapy

-         Adequate time for rest


Without the above factors, the body may not respond optimally to training and could result in “over-training”.  It is a delicate balance between knowing what is pushing the body to the physical limits on a daily basis but not going beyond the limits to have counter-productive results.  Ari relies on a team of support staff including coaches, exercise physiologists, therapists, sport psychologists, and lets not forget family and friends to help him on his way to realizing his dream of wining an Olympic medal!

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Taub trains with World Champion

Bus to trainingTaub and Lopez train in Rome

May 10th provided the opportunity for Ari to refine his techniques and skills with the best in the world.  Cuba's Mijail Lopez is the current world champion at 120kg which makes him one of the favorites going into the Beijing Olympics this summer.  Ari took on the world champ in training and it proved to be a battle of the Titans!

Taub and Lopez

Ari trains with China

On May 9th Ari hit the mats with China's Deli Liu, a 120kg heavy-weight .  Liu is using this first Greco Roman Olympic qualifying tournament to try and secure a spot at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.  Ari has already qaulified for the Games and welcomed the intense training brought on by China's heavy-weight hopeful.


Friday, 9 May 2008

may 10, 2008

i arrived in ostia which is a suburb of rome, italy on may 6. i am here to watch the first olympic qualification tournament which is used to select 4 athletes from each weight class who will get to compete in china. some athletes, like me, have already qualified through the 2007 world championships or the continental championships. there will be 20 athletes per weight at the olympics.

i am here with my coach, slavi stanev, who came all the way from bulgaria to help me prepare for the olympics. he was in calgary working with me last summer and for 6 weeks last fall. he returned to calgary in february 2008 and will be with me until china.

my therapist, murray heber, is also here with me. he will travel with me for a good part of the next 3 months. murray has been working with me for the last few years and i wouldn't be able to train the way i do without his help.

3 other canadians are here trying to earn their tickets to china. i am glad they are here to keep me company. the canadians who don't qualify at this tournament will stay here for 2 weeks to train before the second [and last] qualification tournament in serbia. i will stay in ostia for the next 2 weeks as well. i will be training with the italian and hungarian teams. then i will compete in a tournament in italy before going to france to train for a week.

may 10, 2008


this is my first post on this blog. i am currently in europe training for the olympics in august. i will try and use this blog to keep everyone up to speed on my journey.