Four wrestlers from USA Wrestling talked about the opportunities the Olympics could bring them.
The U.S. has not won a gold medal yet in women’s wrestling, but Adeline Gray and Helen Maroulis are the American favorites to do so this year.
Maroulis said she’s hoping her Olympic journey can help kick-start more women’s wrestling programs in the U.S. She went to college in Canada so she could wrestle at that level, and she said she would love to be able to get more programs in the U.S.
After wrestling was almost eliminated, some changes had to be made to make it more fan-friendly and exciting.
Gray said with more points going up on the board in all weight classes, it makes it more exciting to watch.
Andy Bisek said in the years leading up to where it was almost eliminated, the rules would be changed every six to eight months, and no one watching or wrestling knew what was going on.
“Sticking to the rules until 2016 helped people get a chance to get caught up and learn the rules,” Bisek said.
Maroulis said her and Gray have been together wrestling for a long time.
“It’s nice to have a teammate with memories,” Maroulis said. “People think wrestling is an individual sport, but it’s really not.”
Jordan Burroughs, who went undefeated for a long time, said he approaches each match with a laser-like focus. He knows everyone wants to beat him, and the match with him could be the biggest of his opponent’s life if they beat him.
“Having a streak creates a lot of expectations, but none that i haven’t already placed upon myself,” he said.
He brings his family with him a lot — they were here with him at the Media Summit — because he loves having them around,
“This is something that’s extremely important to me,” Burroughs said. “Having my son and my wife experience these things through me because of my hard work is awesome…there’s nothing better in the word.”
Maroulis had to drop down in weight classes because her usual one was cut, so she had to start an extreme diet plan to lean out.
She lost 10 percent body fat and had to learn about the science of eating healthy.
“It wasn’t natural to my personality to wake up and have to time out every meal and every calorie,” Maroulis said. “It was a new challenge for me, but it’s taught me that we’re always willing to work on our weaknesses, but we pick and choose which weaknesses we want to work on.”
She said she would have no problem going to learn a move she wasn’t completely comfortable with, but dieting and eating so extremely healthy was mentally challenging for her.