NANJING, China -- When wrestling was reinstated into the Olympic program for 2020, Mason Manville was elated.
“I was really sad when wrestling was taken out. When it came back, I was ecstatic,” he said. “I saw the news on my phone, and in the middle of class I started jumping up and down.”
Tonight, Manville has another reason to celebrate: adding a silver medal to his collection.
Manville dominated the men’s 69 kg. Greco-Roman wrestling field en route to the silver medal, earning technical falls against New Zealand and Peru and a 3-1 decision against Germany to secure a spot in the gold-medal match.
Heading into the final, Manville prepared himself as any true competitor would. “I was thinking, ‘Go give it your all. Go out there, have fun and lay it all out on the mat.’”
Manville did lay it out all out on the mat, but ultimately dropped a 3-0 decision to Azerbaijan’s Dadov Islambek. In an evenly-matched pairing where both sides stood their ground, it wasn’t until the second period when Islambek notched the sole technical point of the match.
Manville left the match with a bittersweet feeling: content, but unfulfilled.
“It’s great to be on the podium in Greco-Roman, especially after cadet worlds, where I placed eighth,” Manville explained. “I won freestyle, but this medal is redemption for that performance.”
While a silver medal is cause enough to celebrate, Manville’s high expectations for himself ultimately saw him fall one podium spot short of his goal. “I gave it everything I had; it just didn’t go my way this time.”
Now, he is eager to prove he belongs on the top of the podium.
This mentality is also what he says sets him apart from his competitors on the mat: “My intensity and drive to be the best, and my desire to the best. I just want to give it my all.”
Inspired by World Wrestling Federation cassette tapes as a child, Manville began wrestling at age 4, and his passion for the sport quickly spread to his two younger brothers, Pierson and Carson, who are following in their brother’s footsteps with promising signs at an early age. His journey into wrestling, however, did not come without sacrifice – relocating from Virginia to train at Blair Academy in New Jersey, which is widely considered the top wrestling academy in the nation.
With the support of his family, who were in Nanjing, China, to cheer from the stands of Longjiang Gymnasium, Manville has developed into one of the premiere wresters in the country.
A dual threat in Greco-Roman and freestyle, the Virginia native’s lengthy list of 69 kg. accomplishments include the 2014 Cadet World Championships freestyle title, back-to-back cadet national titles in Greco-Roman and freestyle, and Pan American championship titles in each discipline to cap off his stellar year.
True to his mindset, Manville already envisions standing atop another podium: one in Rio de Janeiro at the 2016 Olympic Games.
“I plan on winning the real deal. Not just any medal. I want gold.” he noted. “Being at the Youth Olympic Games makes me so hungry for more right now.”
If the Youth Olympic Games are an indication of future success, a bigger stage is beckoning Manville’s name.