Q A With Olympian Kerry McCoy

By Andre Gibson | Sept. 14, 2000, 12 a.m. (ET)
Kerry McCoy Age: 26 Age started wrestling: 12 College:Penn State What's your goal going into the Olympics? To win a gold medal and to wrestle my best. The goal is to not leave it up to anyone else. If I don't leave it up to an official, my opponent, or anyone else, the result will be a gold medal. I believe that if I wrestle up to my capability, then no one can beat me. What international experience do you have that has prepared you for this event? I have wrestled in several international competitions, and all of them have helped me prepare for this moment. The '98 World Championships, the World Cup, and the Sunkist Open just to name a few. Any international tournament you enter is going to be tough, so all of them have helped. After winning the Olympic trials, what would you say you learned the most from a competition/technical standpoint? From a mental standpoint? I learned that from a technical capacity, I can beat the best in the world. Regardless of what anyone else says or thinks, I can do it. If I can beat the best in the world, there should be a gold medal waiting for me. On the same hand from a mental standpoint, on any given day anyone can be beat…on both sides. I too have to be ready to compete at the highest possible level. Before a big match, what do you tell yourself to mentally reassure yourself that you're ready? I try to keep my emotions high and stay in a positive mindset. I don't want to be on an emotional roller coaster. I am telling myself to control my position and that as the match goes on I am getting stronger and stronger. I also tell myself that he can't score on me as the match wears on. Who has been the biggest influence on you during your wrestling career? Why? My mom Gretchen. Win lose or draw she has always been there. She has never pressured me in any of my wrestling. In anything I do, I always think of whether or not this would make my mom proud. I never want to be involved in anything that she wouldn't approve or be proud of. My senior year after winning the NCAA title, I ran into the stands. The person I was looking for was my mother. It was my way of thanking her for her unconditional support during my life of growing up around wrestling. How are preparations going for the Olympics? Are you doing anything different? Does this meet have a different feel about it? Great! Every day has been better than before. It is a slow process, but I want to peak at the right time. I am not preparing differently than before the trials. I am using the same intensity and focus. I am not wrestling to win the Olympics only. I am wrestling to be the best I can. If that happens, I will win. It doesn't matter if I am wrestling in my backyard, Madison Square Garden, or Australia. If I wrestle my best, I will win. What was the reaction back in your hometown? Have you been hearing from old friends? I haven't been home in a long time. My mom says the support has been overwhelming from the media. I have been getting lots of calls, e-mails, and well wishes. What has wrestling taught you? How do you view the sport? Wrestling has taught me that no matter what the odds or situation, always believe in yourself. Anything is possible, At every level of wrestling; I have had some adversity that made me stronger in the long run. I never once stopped believing in myself. I feel the sport is full of positive people doing positive things. There are people in this sport that I feel are great role models to everyday society. What do you think of the coaching staff assembled for the Olympics? We have the best athletes and coaches combination in the world. Every base is covered, plus we have additional staff. When someone the likes of Smith, Strobel, or Gable tell me I have a nice single leg, it makes me feel good. What role does your family have in preparing you or supporting you as an athlete chasing your goals of being an Olympic Champion? My family is very understanding and accepting of me chasing my Olympic dream. They know I won't be able to visit home a lot. They are very supportive and willing to do what ever it takes to help me achieve the gold. My mom has even told me to not worry about my family's trip to Sydney. She only wants me to worry about wrestling, and I know she will be there.