For Randi Miller, the wins just keep on coming
Not much was familiar at Randi Miller’s most recent match when she stepped onto the mat in New York City’s Time Square — except how it ended. She was competing in the Beat the Streets event, which featured some of the best wrestlers in the world.
Miller, who was participating for the first time, did not know who her opponent would be until the night before the match. She was not disappointed to learn that she would be meeting 2013 World champion Alina Makhinya from Ukraine at 69 kg/152 lbs.The venue was new, the setting unfamiliar: it was outside, in the streets with the fans close by. But Miller’s approach was familiar, one she continually relies upon in her matches. What was she thinking as the fans cheered?
“Same thing that is always going through my mind,” Miller said, “focus in on the things I want to do out there and execute points. I just want to put points on the board—I don’t really care how I get them. I look to be aggressive— and look to put points on the board,”
The strategy worked, once again: Miller beat Makhinya 11-5 on May 7.
Miller enjoyed the energy of the Beat the Streets event.
“It was amazing. I’ve never wrestled in quite a venue like that with all the support. The fans where very close to us so that made it fun. The place had lots of energy and it was really cool,” Miller said.
Miller was a 2008 Olympic bronze medalist, but took a break for close to five years.
“I had personal things going on, so I needed a break, but it was an easy decision to come back to wrestling,” Miller said.
Certainly the break does not appear to have stopped her momentum. Since her return Miller has won the 2014 U.S. Open, placed second in the Klippan Lady Open, won the Dave Schultz Memorial International and placed second in the New York AC International.
Last February, Miller was chosen to light the Olympic Torch in Colorado Springs to celebrate the opening of the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
As Texas-native Miller reflects upon her past and recent successes, how does she remember her wrestling start?
“It’s something I kind of wanted to do and it was challenging from my first practice…wrestling is hard, no one can deny that,” Miller said. “Every bit of it is challenging, from the warm-up to the cool-down.”
“Wrestling for women isn’t like a huge deal in Texas. A lot of people do it and a lot of girls wrestle. It wasn’t all ‘ooh and ahh’ when I walked in to practice for the first time,” Miller said.
Miller did not completely disappear from the world of competitive sport during her break.
“I fought a little bit and I wrestled here and there, but nothing compared to how I was training before I left wrestling. I decided to fight and that is when I started to pick up my training again and really hit it hard,” Miller said.
Now that she is back, Miller continues to work to improve, striving to be even better than she was in 2008. Her daily schedule is grueling.
“Well, I wake up, have a little breakfast and go to practice. Then I sit in the sauna for a little bit. Then go home, have lunch and take a nap. Then I’ll go back to practice and sit in the sauna for a little bit after,” Miller said. “Then go home, do some homework, go to bed, repeat.”
“It is different at practice every day. Sometimes it’s drilling, sometimes it’s going live for a little bit and sometimes it’s lifting. Or sometimes it’s a sprint workout and you just have to be kind of ready for anything,” Miller said.
Miller is working to improve her overall performance, not focusing on any particular area right now.
“There are no specifics right now. I work on a lot of things, because there is a lot of improvement that needs to be done,” Miller said. “Everywhere, all around the board, I need to be working on.”
What does she do in her admittedly little down-time?
“I enjoy relaxing at home, watching TV. You know, just being able to get off my feet feels good,” Miller said.
Included in the relaxation could be a dinner out at a favorite restaurant to eat her favorite foods.
“Sushi is my favorite food. Fujiyama in Colorado Springs is the best place to get sushi and they have half-off between 12 and 2! I like to explore all the rolls,” Miller said.
So it is no surprise when Miller, who has traveled extensively in her wrestling career, reveals her favorite among the countries she has visited.
“Probably Japan, which we traveled to when we went to World Cup, is my favorite. I just liked it—the place had a good energy. The people were very hospitable and the food was really good,” Miller said.
The 2016 Olympics and the road to getting to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil are Miller’s first priorities now, but what does the future hold? Is coaching a possibility?
“I don’t think coaching is in my future. I will always love to be around this sport and help out, but I don’t think I would want to take on a team,” Miller said. “I could possibly see being an assistant coach.”
Miller is philosophical when asked where she sees herself in 10 years.
“It’s hard to say. That’s one of those questions that’s loaded and easy to answer when you are 18, but it’s not so easy when you are 30, so we will see in ten years,” Miller said. “I wouldn’t really want to move anywhere. I really enjoy Colorado, but I am open to where life takes me.”
Given Miller’s work ethic and determination, we will all be watching as life takes her on the road to Rio and beyond, probably with many successes on the way.