Photo: Randi Miller celebrates her Olympic bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Photo by Larry Slater.
Welcome to a weekly series on TheMat.com called USA Wrestling History Lesson. Each week, we will highlight one athlete that has wrapped up his or her wrestling career, sharing the impact that they’ve had on the sport.
This week, we take a look at Randi Miller, a 2008 Olympic bronze medalist and a 2014 World Military champion.
Miller, a native of Arlington, Texas, headed to Neosho Community College to compete, before transferring to MacMurray College. Eventually, she ended up at Northern Michigan University, training with the US Olympic Education Center under Shannyn Gillespie.
She began competing on the Senior level at 2004 and wrestled most of her career between 63 kg/139 lbs. and 69 kg/152 lbs. Between 2004 and 2008, Miller won gold at the 2006 Pan American Championships and three medals at the Dave Schultz Memorial International, including gold in 2007.
In 2008, Miller earned her first chance to represent the United States at the World level, when she won the 63 kg spot for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, only the second Olympic Games to include women’s wrestling. To make the team, she defeated 2004 Olympic silver medalist Sara McMann.
In Bejing, she claimed an Olympic bronze medal, winning four of her five matches, losing only to Olympic champion Kaori Icho. Her bronze-medal win was over multiple World champion Martine Degrenier of Canada. She became the first, and so far only, African-American female to win an Olympic medal in wrestling.
After her Olympic run, Miller, who competed for Army WCAP, returned to the world stage in 2014 to compete at the World Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Despite not placing in Tashkent, one month later, Miller claimed a gold medal at the World Military Championships.
She continued to excel, claiming multiple international medals at various tournaments, while bringing up a new generation of wrestlers.
In 2010, Miller transitioned into coaching while still competing, serving as the assistant coach at Missouri Baptist University.
She also had a coaching stint at MacMurray College and is currently the assistant coach at Limestone University.