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|Quotes from U.S. Olympic wrestlers at three press conferences this week in London|
2008 World champion and two-time Olympian Clarissa Chun at the Olympic Games press conference. John Sachs photo
Atos, the official information system for the London Olympics, covered the U.S. wrestling press conferences this week in the Main Press Center in London. Here are some quotes from a variety of U.S. athletes, as well as a link to the video of the press conferences for those who would like to watch them.
U.S. MEN’S FREESTYLE OLYMPIC TEAM
LONDON, 28 July - Comments from the USA freestyle wrestling team, Jake HERBERT (84kg), Jordan BURROUGHS (74kg) and Jared FRAYER (66kg), at a media conference in the Main Press Centre on Saturday.
84 KG - Jake HERBERT (USA)
On why he has been dubbed the clown of the team:
"I only have enough seriousness in me for about a six-minute match. It's fun, we go to practice in sweat pants, I'm trained to beat up my boss, and I'm pretty sure I can almost take Zeke (JONES, USA head coach and Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games 52kg silver medallist) now. He's quick but I've got a little bit of weight and size on him."
"It's the Olympic Games here, it's a great experience, but you've gotta keep things light. But when it's go time, when it's time for that match, (my) mentality, (what) I step out there with is, if they want to beat me, they're going to have to kill me and I'm still breathing, and I guarantee I'll be breathing after London's done."
On his mental preparations before a bout:
"It comes down to thinking what we've done to prepare for that match. I've been through a lot of ups and downs this year. Every single person up here on this stage has been hurt, has broken a bone, has gotten surgery, has missed a month worth of practices just to heal something up."
"We've all missed parties, we've all missed events. He (Jared FRAYER, USA) was about to miss the birth of his child for this. If that's not sacrifice I don't know what is. And you start to think of that stuff, what you've given up."
"Then you start to look at that guy across the mat and you start to think what that guy's trying to take away from you. He didn't work as hard as me. I know for a fact he wasn't up at 6am, he wasn't hitting the bike until he puked, he wasn't hitting those weights harder than me, he wasn't as dedicated as I am, he doesn't want it as much as I do, and it starts to excite me, it starts getting my blood pressure up, starts to get the hair standing on the back of my neck. It gets my heart beating and gets me ready to go out there for war. Because this guy's trying to take what's mine. That gold medal's not his, that's my gold medal. I have to go out there and take it."
On the 250,000 USD bonus he will get if he wins gold:
"We're not all in this for the 250,000 dollars, we're in this for the gold medal, that's just the bonus and the icing that comes with it all. But that's huge, my four years of work I've done, I get that 250,000 dollars - you're going to have to help me out with the maths, how much is that a year? That's big. That's like a full-time job being the manager of Subway or something like that, but I choose to go out there and break some necks and crush some dreams. I'm going to get down and take some knowledge from Mike NOVOGRATZ (USA) and invest that wisely and make my 250,000 dollars into something larger that I can hopefully donate back to the rest of these guys here (the team)."
74 KG - Jordan BURROUGHS (USA)
On his expectations at the Games:
"I have an extremely high level of confidence. I expect to win every time I step out there in the match."
"A lot of people expect me to win, I expect to win, my family expects me to win and I gotta get it done. I'm representing not only myself, but my whole country."
On the attention he has received since winning the world championships:
"I love the attention. I wish we had WiFi right now so I could go on Twitter."
66 KG - Jared FRAYER (USA)
On becoming a father for the second time just before coming to London:
"I got the text message during our simulation tournament and I got my butt back home."
"It was a physical simulation tounament on Friday and then an anxiety simulation on Saturday, so I'm pretty simulated for the biggest tournament of my life."
VIDEO: U.S. Men's Freestyle Olympic Press conference
U.S. WOMEN’S FREESTYLE OLYMPIC TEAM
LONDON, 26 July - Comments from wrestlers Clarissa CHUN (USA), Kelsey CAMPBELL (USA), Elena PIROZHKOVA (USA) and Ali BERNARD (USA) at a United States Olympic Committee media conference at the Main Press Centre on Thursday.
48 KG - Clarissa CHUN (USA)
On the kind of wrestling she will have to do to win a medal in London:
"Fight for every point. Be in that match from beginning to the end, using what I'm good at, whether it's my speed or technique or whatnot. Wrestling my game, wrestling my style and bringing me to them."
55 KG - Kelsey CAMPBELL (USA)
On how she got into wrestling:
"I had some friends on the team at high school and, being an athlete, I thought I could handle it. Some of my guy friends didn't so there was a bet that was made: 'You couldn't last more than two weeks' and I was, like, 'I totally could' and so I went out for the team, just trying to prove some guys wrong."
On the sacrifice she made to get down to the 55kg weight limit:
"Going into the Olympic year I had to really change some habits. Everything I put in my body I had to watch. I had to get input from nutritionists, from my coach and even my teammates. Wrestling became more than just wrestling."
63 KG - Elena PIROZHKOVA (USA)
On training with Kaori ICHO (JPN) who won gold in the women's freestyle 63kg at Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008:
"When my coach said she was going to come I was pretty surprised. Of all the countries she could train in, she could be training with so many other people, she's coming to the United States. I told myself in my head I was, like, 'All right she's scared of me, she's come here to check my out, maybe'."
"Every single day I treated it like a competition. I thought I can't let her show that I'm weak."
72 KG - Ali BERNARD (USA)
On her decision to carry on competing after Beijing 2008:
"After Beijing I didn't know what I wanted to do, I usually don't. I knew I wanted to finish school and school without wrestling was pretty boring so I got back on the mat."
"It's hard to quit something you love so much, so I decided to do another four years."
On how it feels to be back at the Games again:
"Now I'm here in London it's a gift, a second chance and you know. I'm not going to let this slip through my fingers this time."
VIDEO: U.S. Women's Freestyle Olympic Press conference
U.S. GRECO-ROMAN OLYMPIC TEAM
LONDON, 25 July - Comments from Greco-Roman wrestlers Dremiel BYERS, Ellis COLEMAN, Chas BETTS, Ben PROVISOR and Justin LESTER (USA) at a United States Olympic Committee wrestling briefing at the Main Press Centre on Wednesday.
120 KG - Dremiel BYERS (USA)
On the lessons he learned from the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games where he reached the quarterfinals in the 120kg division:
"The biggest lesson I learned is that it is a small tournament. It goes by so quick, I feel like I just rolled off the mat yesterday in Beijing."
On media reports of security problems:
"Usually I'm my own security. These guys should feel safe because I'm here."
On why he carried on after Beijing 2008 knowing he would be nearly 38 years old coming into London 2012:
"Wrestling will let you know when you're done with it. I'm still going strong."
60 KG - Ellis COLEMAN (USA)
On his nickname 'the flying squirrel', which he earned because of his specialist move which involves leaping over an opponent's head and taking him down from around the waist:
"At this point I carry that with me, it's my nickname. I actually bought a pet flying squirrel, so I've been embracing it ever since."
On whether he had heard of Gabrielle DOUGLAS, a USA artistic gymnast who also goes by the name of 'flying squirrel':
"Yeah, I checked that out. Someone messaged me and told me to take a picture with her."
On his ambitions for London 2012 after winning bronze at the junior world championships in 2010 and 2011:
"My goal is to win a gold medal. I know that I am capable of doing it, I've trained like I am capable of doing it, so considering my two junior world medals, I trust in myself and I believe in my trainer."
84 KG - Chas BETTS (USA)
On how he's improved since the world championships in 2009, where he reached the final 32 in the 84kg class:
"In 2009 I made the world championships team and didn't do very well. A lot of that was nerves, I wasn't at my best and I was feeling overwhelmed. I've spent the last couple of years just wanting to have another shot and finding it hard to have another shot. Now I've finally earned it I feel a lot better prepared for that whole part of it."
74 KG - Ben PROVISOR (USA)
On the role of coach and mentor Dennis Hall, a silver medallist at Atlanta 1996 in the 57kg class:
"He tutored me not just as a wrestler but almost as a son and I'm very fortunate to have had him in my corner ever since I was 6 years old. He's talked to me about what to expect when I get here, how it's different to a world championships, and it's an honour to say I'm following in his footsteps."
66 KG - Justin LESTER (USA)
On his ambitions for London 2012 having won bronze at the 2006 and 2007 world championships in the 66kg class:
"For me, it's gold or nothing. Silver or bronze is okay, but I already have two medals; they're not Olympic medals, but they're still medals. I came back to this squad after all I've been through to win a gold medal."
VIDEO: U.S. Greco-Roman Olympic Press conference