For those who have been avoiding the Olympics due to United States Olympians' protesting the country they represent, this week brought a sweet respite. Tamyra Mensah-Stock, who won a gold medal for the United States in freestyle wrestling, is a breath of fresh air. Enthusiastic, faithful, married and a patriot — she thanked God for her final win against second seed Blessing Oborududu from Nigeria.
"Of course, I surprise myself, it's by the grace of God I'm even able to move my feet," said Mensah-Stock as she smiled broadly. "Like I just leave it in his hands, and I pray that all the practice that, the hell that my fricking coaches put me through pays off, and every single time it does. And I get better and better. It's so weird that there is no cap to the limit that I can do. And I am excited to see what I have next."
Hard work, faith in God, love for what she does and enthusiasm for the future. A powerful combination.
While other American Olympians were making sure their disdain for the country they represent is visible, Mensah-Stock was effusive about her love for her country. Her father immigrated from Ghana as an adult, and her mother is from Chicago. Mensah-Stock remembers her father telling her stories of his harsh childhood in Ghana.
Possibly, this personal experience led to her love of her country. When asked how she felt about representing the United States after winning the gold medal she replied: "It feels amazing. I love representing the US. I freaking love living there. I love it," she continued as she made a heart with her hands. "And I am so happy I get to represent USA."
Smiling, she was effervescent and enthusiastic in her reply. Clearly, she was thrilled to be representing the United States, even wrapping her shoulders with a U.S. flag. Such an effusive display of patriotism is rarely seen today and is incredibly refreshing.
Mensah-Stock lives in Colorado Springs with her husband, Jacob Stock. She uses the name Mensah-Stock to honor her father who was killed in a car accident on the way home from watching her wrestle when she was in high school. It's her way of keeping him, her number one fan, with her.
Her marriage is a love story. She followed Jacob from Morton Ranch High School, where they both wrestled, to Wayland Baptist University, where he had signed as a wrestler. When talking to Mike Finn, who wrote "Making of a Superhero," for Wrestling Insider Magazine, Mensah-Stock said that Jacob "was someone on the wrestling team I admired. He was this tall, handsome guy who I didn't think would ever want to talk to me. He was my super crush. When I found out he had signed with Wayland, I also signed."
They began dating in their junior year in college and were married in 2016. Jacob encourages and supports Mensah-Stock. "He's in my ear every day and telling me I can do this; that 'you are such a powerful and dominating woman. Showcase God's grace and show people what you have.' All this positivity has been around me. It's still a struggle, but I've gotten better since the beginning of my wrestling career." Jacob serves as a case worker for released prisoners as Mensah-Stock trains for wrestling full time.
She loves to wrestle and plans to compete in 2024, possibly even working for World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., at some point. But Mensah-Stock also understands that there is more to life than personal achievement, even if it is attained with God's help, and that the future of our world comes from our children.
"The fact that I have to leave my husband and dogs has been tough," she told Finn. "My coaches tell me I can have a baby and continue wrestling. I don't want to do that. I want all my attention to be on a little one's life. I want to show that you can have your dream, then focus on creating the future of the world."
While others will focus on those who tear down our country, who are disgruntled and unhappy, Mensah-Stock is a positive, productive and loving role model. She's got it all — a love for God, family, country and calling — what could be better than that?
To find out more about Jackie Gingrich Cushman, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.
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Last Updated: Wednesday, Aug 04, 2021 14:08:49 -0700