It’s been 48 hours since Curtis Wennberg was awarded with a bronze medal at the Pan Am Games in Peru, but you better believe he’s still wearing it.
Wednesday’s victory was a long time coming for the 48 year-old Manitoban trap shooter.
Like many athletes representing Team Canada, this wasn’t Wennberg’s first rodeo at the Pan Am Games. He even has a gold medal to prove it.
But what sets him apart from other competitors?
Wennberg won his first medal 28 years ago, for the team shooting event at the 1991 Games in Havana, Cuba.
"This one’s super-special. It’s coming back in, 28 years later and making it happen. But also, I was shooting off for bronze in Toronto 2015 and I had lost. So to get a bronze in this event, it’s almost like it’s a redemption. My gosh, it feels good," he said Thursday.
Wennberg took time off after the '91 Games to focus on family and his financial services career. He worked abroad for years before moving back to Manitoba to take on the role of chief operating officer at MPI.
He started shooting again in 2015, narrowly missing the podium in Toronto’s 2015 Pan Am Games. There, he placed fourth in the individual men’s trap shooting event.
As the lone male Team Canada athlete from Manitoba, Wennberg has a lot to be proud of. By securing the mixed-team bronze, he and his partner Amanda Chudoba are the only members of the Canadian shooting team to make the podium at the Games this year.
"I was joking with her on the podium…. This is my second Pan Am medal, but it’s been 28 years since the last one. And she said, ‘Well, jeez, that’s only one year less than my age. I was a one-year-old when you got your first one.’ So funny," said Wennberg.
But it hasn’t all been sunshine and rainbows out in Lima so far.
Since arriving, Wennberg says the weather conditions have been overcast and chilly, with temperatures hovering around the 15 C mark.
"We’ve had to bundle up and get out there," he said. "Sometimes there was a little bit of mist in the air. It’s not high 20s and sunny weather for shooting, like you’d think. It was some challenge in that way."
Despite that, Wennberg said he couldn’t have had a better time at the Games. While he’s no stranger to donning Team Canada colours, he never fails to marvel at the remarkable level of camaraderie among Canadian athletes.
"You really do feel like it’s a great-big team, because you've got a lot of the Canadians and they’re wearing Canadian gear here and we’ll sit together in the dining halls. You get a team experience unlike other World Cups or World Championships. People in the elevators will look at my medal and they’re just giving high-fives. I've got folks that are swimmers that are giving me high-fives and I’m doing the same for them. It’s a terrific atmosphere, being part of the Canadian team."
With his final event out of the way, Wennberg is making the most of his final few days in Peru. Before he flies out Monday, there’s one more sight he plans to see.
"After this call I’m going to be booking a flight to try and climb up to Machu Picchu, just see what that’s all about," he said.