Q A With Olympian Melvin Douglas

By Andre Gibson | Sept. 13, 2000, 12 a.m. (ET)
Melvin Douglas Age: 37 Age started wrestling: 13 College: Univ. of Oklahoma What's your goal going into the Olympics? At my age, I have one goal. The Gold Medal. What international experience do you have that has prepared you for this event? I kind of look at it like, what International experience don't I have. I have done them all, which definitely will help me. The World's, Pan Am's, World Cup, Dave Schultz & Sunkist Tournaments, Takhti Cup. You name it; I've been there. I would definitely say I am the veteran of the bunch. After winning the Olympic trials, what would you say you learned the most from a competition/technical standpoint? From a mental standpoint? I have always said for years now that life is 99% mental. You have to believe to achieve. I approach it that way. As old as I am, I still believe that nothing is impossible. Hey, I represent the over 37 club. Before a big match, what do you tell yourself to mentally reassure yourself that you're ready? I always tell myself that I am the man, I'm what my opponent considers the bad draw. I know when people see me in their bracket, they know they will have the match of their life. I am kind of the thorn in people's side that never goes away. Who has been the biggest influence on you during your wrestling career? Why? Over the years, the people who believed in me the most were my mom (Karen), dad (Melvin Sr.), and my wife Theresa. They love to watch me compete and I know they will be there in the stands in Sydney. How are preparations going for the Olympics? Are you doing anything different? Does this meet have a different feel about it? As expected, I am not ready yet. For that matter, I don't want to be ready yet. But understand one thing…I will be peaking and ready when the first whistle blows. I am really focusing on the mental preparations. At my age, it is physically exhausting to train at the mode of all these young guys. That's why I say life and wrestling is 99% mental. I am proof of that. This Olympics is totally different for me. The goal is the gold. What was the reaction back in your hometown? Have you been hearing from old friends? My friends back in Topeka, Kansas are extremely excited for me. My family are all going to make the trip with one small problem. My dad doesn't ever fly. But he has to fly to get to Sydney. I told him he better take a lot of sleeping pills. A lot of old friends are pulling for me. My job in Arizona is real happy for me. They are my family at Home Depot. What has wrestling taught you? How do you view the sport? Well, I always say the two toughest sports are wrestling and swimming. Since I can't swim, it was wrestling. Without a doubt, this is the most grueling sport to ever participate in. Wrestling has taught me to be goal oriented, to have the discipline to succeed. I love all the aspects of the sport. The 1 on 1 competition, being physically fit and most of all being mentally tough. What do you think of the coaching staff assembled for the Olympics? I really think it is a great staff. Although at my age, I am not sure how much it helps me. Again, I am 37 years old. The staff is really an asset to the younger guys. For me, I believe I am self-taught. I give credit to god, them myself. What role does your family have in preparing you or supporting you as an athlete chasing your goals of being an Olympic Champion? It has been incredible. They have been there for me from the beginning and hopefully will be there in the end. My future plans include continuing working at Home Depot. I really like it there a lot. I appreciate the Olympic Job Opportunity that Home Depot has given me. I consider the folks from Home Depot as part of my family.