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Olivia Shore Q&A: Goals of becoming Tiffin’s first national champion, wrestling as a lifestyle, Olympic gold aspirations

by Joe Wedra, USA Wrestling

Photo courtesy of Tiffin Athletics

This year, will interview one collegiate wrestling athlete each week as a part of a new Q&A series for the 2021-22 college wrestling season. Stay tuned each Thursday for a new feature, spotlighting these student-athletes both on and off the mat.
This week, we talk with Olivia Shore, who just led Tiffin to a NCWWC Northeast Regional win last weekend with her championship performance at 101 pounds. The freshman is looking to become Tiffin’s first-ever national champion at the NCWWC National Championships, which will be held at Adrian College on March 4-5.
Below, Shore talks about her introduction to wrestling, her mindset approaching Nationals and her future goals, which include being an Olympic champion.
Q: What was your introduction into the sport of wrestling and how did you begin your wrestling career?

A: My older brother, Graham, he actually wrestles at a neighboring school near me, University of Findlay, he was four years old and he needed a partner. I was always a tomboy growing up. I always wanted to be with the boys and I hung out with the boys. So, my dad was like “we’ll throw her in, make her be his partner, he’ll get good and she’ll continue with softball, or whatever she wants to do”. But, I ended up liking it a lot.
My mom wasn’t too fond of it, but I asked my dad to let me wrestle in one tournament. And if I won, he had to let me keep wrestling. But, if I lost, I said I’d never wrestle again. I ended up winning … I think I only lost one or two matches my whole first season. So, my mom said “well, I guess we lost the bet”. I continued to wrestle and ever since then, I kind of fell in love with it and made it a lifestyle. Now, this is my 16th year of wrestling.
Q: When did you know you were good, and when did it hit you that you had a future in the sport?
A: I guess I never really was like “oh, wow, you’re good”… When I knew that I loved it is when I knew that I could be something good. In middle school, I went to Graham Middle School. And if you know anything about the Graham district, it’s a pretty good spot for wrestling. So when I made the varsity spot in middle school and everything, I realized maybe I was pretty good and that I should continue. I don’t know, I just made it a lifestyle.
Q: You mention wrestling being a lifestyle. For people who might not understand that, how would you describe that and how wrestling becomes a lifestyle, as you describe it?
A: I just made it a lifestyle. I would just eat, breathe, sleep, all wrestling. I just made it my life. My dad was a very motivational guy, so he would always tell me that wrestling is a lot like life. You get thrown, you go through things you don’t expect, you get thrown to your back, this and that. I just kind of applied it to my life in general and it really became a lifestyle for me.
Sixteen years later, here I am still using wrestling to get through things in my life that don’t have anything to do with wrestling. But I think since I’ve been with wrestling for so long, I’ve learned a lot of things about dealing with things with life in general just by being in the sport.
Q: The process of looking at colleges and ultimately choosing Tiffin – what was that whole process like for you?
A: It was very stressful because of COVID. I couldn’t really go on visits, so that was tough. I did do a couple of virtual ones. I don’t know… ever since I met [head coach Nick] Goebel, something about him reminded me about my dad. He’s a really good person. I didn’t want to stay in Ohio to be close to home, but I knew that Tiffin hadn’t had a national champion, and I thought it would be really cool to be the first.
Tiffin was the first girls wrestling college in Ohio. And to be the first girl to ever win a national title for them would be amazing and a dream come true. So, I’m down to one week left to get it done. So, we’ll see.
Q: What has your mindset been like here as you approach Nationals?
A: Before a match I get serious, but I like jokes and I’m a really outgoing person. So I just take it day-by-day, train really hard and make sure that when it’s time to focus on wrestling that I’m really focused. Other than that, I try not to overthink a whole lot because I’ve been wrestling my whole life. So, I’m just doing what I know how to do and also living as a college kid at the same time.
Obviously, I have nerves. But I know that I have been on big stages before. I’ve been to Worlds, I’ve won Fargo… I love that pressure. The pressure is something I love to breathe in and say “okay, here we go” instead of getting overwhelmed and not knowing how to deal with it. I just embrace it. If it was tomorrow, I’d be ready to go.
Q: Your focus is on winning a national title right now, rightfully so. But moving forward, what would you say your personal goals are as you look ahead to your wrestling career?
A: I definitely want to be an Olympic champion. My junior year of college, which will be the next Olympics, I’m going to try for it. At the end of the day, I don’t want to stop wrestling until I become an Olympic champion. Even if that means I’m 60. It’s just always been a goal of mine, and I don’t ever want to stop until it gets done.
But, I hope I’m a four-time national champion in college. I think if I work hard enough, I can get that done. I want to graduate, become a coach, help out, win the Olympics and really just be around wrestling literally for the rest of my life.