Anything that happens to you is the best possible thing that could have happened to you. –Unknown
This has been my life’s mantra. I will always do my best and put forth as much effort as I can, but sometimes the outcome is not exactly what you are looking for. I went to Belarus with the intent of winning the tournament and finding areas I needed to concentrate on leading into the Olympic Team Trials. Unfortunately the lesson I needed to learn caused me to lose in the quarterfinals and eventually get knocked out of the tournament. I have a very distinct style of wrestling, and I’ve had this style my entire life, and it seems that if I stray too far away from what I know, I become vulnerable. As soon as I stepped off the mat after my loss the first thing I said to myself was, “why did you try to wrestle like Gabe (Dean)?!” My first two matches I wrestled really well, I scored points and had very few wasted opportunities. While in my third match I did not make any in-match adjustments and wasted a lot of opportunities to put points on the board. My biggest problem was that I was thinking while I was on the mat; I never think while I wrestle…ever. When you start thinking about what you are going to do, you trip yourself up. You stray from letting your body’s muscle memory from countless repetitions in the practice room do what it does. This was a very clear lesson that I needed to learn, and I’m glad it happened here rather than at the Olympic Team Trials because I need to be nearly perfect there.
My training these past few months has really picked up, I’ve made some major changes to the way I train from my lifts, to my wrestling, and to my approach. The great thing is that I’ve been able to keep the training methods that have worked for me in the past and added in the new methods that will take me to the next level so I can accomplish my goals. Wrestlers’ bodies are subject to some pretty incredible punishment that most people can’t handle, which means that taking care of yourself physically and mentally on and off the mat is a major key to your success. In these next six and a half weeks leading into the Trials I’ll be focused on keeping my body and mind in top form as well, while pushing back my breaking point.
The newest addition to the FLWC and KD team is Ahad Javansalehi, the 1988 and 1992 Olympian from Iran. He has helped a lot in my training, by bringing in a new perspective and coaching style that I’ve never seen before. Not many athletes from the US have the privilege of experiencing the high pace training methods that you get in Iran, and luckily for me, Coach Ahad is sharing his wealth of knowledge with me to help me on my journey to Olympic Gold.