USA Wrestling celebrates #OneYearOut from #Tokyo2020 in Memorial Park in #OlympicCityUSA

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | July 24, 2019, 6:33 p.m. (ET)
USA Wrestling athletes and coaches pose with local youth as part of the One Year Out celebration from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, held in Memorial Park in Colorado Springs. Photo by JD Rader.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Athletes and coaches from USA Wrestling’s programs in all three styles put on a great show in Memorial Park in Colorado Springs, as part of the #OlympicCityUSA celebration of #OneYearOut from the #Tokyo2020 Olympic Games.

Athletes and World Teams from a number of age-levels who were in Colorado Springs at training camp at the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Center gave their time and expertise to provide demonstrations and teach kids about wrestling.

The day started with a live TV appearance by USA Wrestling Greco-Roman National Coach Matt Lindland and World Team member G’Angelo Hancock on the morning news on KOAA, the local NBC affiliate. They were interviewed by Shayla Girardin on site at CityROCK in downtown Colorado Springs, for both the 6:00 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. time slots.

Jay Eide from the local youth wrestling organization, Peak 2 Peak Wrestling, provided a mat, which was placed on the grass in the northeast portion of Memorial Park for public wrestling demonstrations from 10:00 a.m. – noon. Hundreds of kids and their families came over to see wrestling, try out the sport, and meet the wrestling athletes.

The athletes were a mix of Senior wrestlers, resident athletes, Junior World Team and Cadet World Team athletes, covering each of the U.S. National Team programs. The first shift was handled by the Greco-Roman program, followed by the women’s freestyle program and then the men’s freestyle program.

The athletes demonstrated wrestling for the fans, showing off some great technique as well as some training drills. Each of the teams then allowed some young kids to come onto the mat for basic instruction, and to receive some personal coaching from USA Wrestling’s athletes. They also signed autographs and spent time with the families.

A special guest at the celebration was 2016 Olympic bronze medalist J’den Cox, who showed the kids and families his Olympic medal from Rio, signed autographs, posed for pictures and shared some stories with them. Cox even sang a song for some of the youth who knew about his musical skills.

Local television stations interviewed J’den Cox and National Freestyle Coach Bill Zadick, and many photos and videos of the wrestlers and their demonstrations were taken and placed on social media.

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers spent time alongside the wrestling mat, and personally thanked all of the USA Wrestling athletes and coaches for giving their time and effort on behalf of the kids from the community.

Other sports that helped support the #OneYearOut celebrations included gymnastics, judo, triathlon, sitting volleyball, soccer, field hockey, skateboarding and more. Representatives from the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum, as well as the #OlympicCityUSA program had displays and materials for the fans.

USA Wrestling athletes, coaches, volunteers and staff worked together on this project, and a great time was had by all.

So, remember, we are only one year away from the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. It should be an amazing year ahead for all of us.