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Dad's Working Hard

Streeter and Sterling waited patiently off to the side of the room. Occasionally, a real big guy would come over to say hi to mom and to coax another Hi-five out of one of the two. The room was hot and the two were getting tired of eating all the grapes that mom was providing. But dad was still busy. The two boys have been around wrestling from the very beginning. And, the patience they've been learning through the years waiting for dad to be done with practice will surely serve them well in the future. Dad, of course, is Lincoln McIlravy. McIlravy has owned the 69kg/152 lbs weight class and scored an impressive 2 match win over Chris Bono from Iowa State at the Olympic Trials in Dallas last June. McIlravy has always been a star of the sport with numerous state titles from his prep days, and, three national titles as a stand-out for the Hawkeyes at the University of Iowa. But now, it is close to crunch time and you can see it in Lincoln's eyes; he's focused on winning the gold in Sydney. The intensity is still there. The focus. The determination. When you stand near him during a practice with coaches constantly grabbing a towel to dry the perspiration soaked mats, you can see he can't wait to get in another scramble to get the action going again. Lincoln McIlravy's wrestling credentials often overshadow what tremendous skill he has an athlete. McIlravy made a name for himself the first time he won a national title by relentlessly attacking his opponent, scoring takedown after takedown to draw the score closer in the match, before finally gaining the match winning takedown at the buzzer for his first national title. From that moment on, the wrestling community knew it had another future star. The tremendous tenacity McIlravy has as a wrestler has stayed with him all these years. But opponent's know one other thing about Lincoln. To go along with that tremendous tenacity, McIlravy has unbelievable balance. In a sport, like freestyle, where attacks from the waist down are the bread and butter of a wrestler's offense, McIlravy has been able to mystify his opponent's with counters that can leave wrestling fans and the opponents themselves dumbfounded. Earlier this week, at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Mike Eireman, an OTC resident athlete, became the victim of that unfathomable balance. On what ordinarily would've been a scoring shot by Eireman, McIlravy unleashed that balance. Eierman got in nicely on head inside single-a nice sweeping shot. McIlravy's instinct and balance took over. He kicked, he churned, he smashed his opponent's head off of his ribs forcing it down to his mid-thigh. With each gyration that nice shot of Eierman's began to slip away. McIlravy sprawled, he jumped, he kicked, he limped his leg some more to the point that Eierman's grip on the single had slipped down to mid-shin. Finally, after a tenacious scramble and fiery fight for the takedown. McIlravy easily twisted his body first out front in the direction that Eierman was looking, and then finally back towards his opponent's hip. The frustration was apparent on Eierman's face. That nice single-leg slipped away because of that tremendous balance that McIlravy can seemingly unleash at will. Afterwards, Eirerman said, "I thought I had it, I thought I'd get that takedown on one of the world's best." You know Eireman relished the opportunity and will remember the tussles he had with Lincoln McIlravy. You can still see it in Lincoln's eyes. He doesn't intend to let this opportunity slip away. He'll need all of the physical and emotional skill he can muster. But, he is determined to get that gold. All the while, Streeter and Sterling quietly wait with mom for dad to finish up. Of course, he won't be done till he's wearing that gold medal in Sydney.
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