Wayland Baptist grad wins gold in wrestling

Team USA wrestler Tamyra Mensah-Stock has become the first Black woman to win Olympic gold in women's wrestling, and is only the second American woman to win the top medal since women's wrestling was added to the Summer Games in 2004.

Mensah-Stock, 28, captured gold after facing off against Nigeria's Blessing Oborududu and winning 4-1. She is the second American woman to win Olympic gold at women's wrestling after Helen Maroulis in 2016.

"I pray that all the practice  that — the hell that my freaking coaches put me through — pays off. And every single time it does. And I get better and better, and it's so weird that there is no cap to the limit that I can do," Mensah-Stock said after the match. "And I'm excited to see what I have next."

“Young women are going to see themselves in a number of ways. And they’re going to look up there and go: ‘I can do that. I can see myself,'" Mensah-Stock added afterwards.

“Look at this natural hair. Come on, man! I made sure I brought my puffballs out so they could know that you can do it, too," she said, adding that she wanted young women to see that “you can be silly, you can have fun, and you can be strong, you can be tough and you can be a wrestler.”

Mensah-Stock previously attended the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio as a practice partner for her teammates after failing to secure a spot in the competition, the Times noted.

The wrestler also made sure to name other female Black wrestlers who have come before her including Toccara Montgomery, who competed in the 2004 games, and Randi Miller, who competed in 2008.

“They paved the way for me, and I was like, ‘I know you guys could have done it, so I’m going out there and I’m going to accomplish this,’” she said.

Mensah-Stock was born in Chicago, Illinois and grew up in the Houston, Texas suburbs. She began competing in track and field events but later pursued wrestling as a teenager at Morton Ranch High School in Katy, Texas at the age of 15 at the suggestion of her twin sister Tarkyia, who was on the school wrestling team.

In 2010 and 2011, Mensah-Stock became the Texas High School Girls Champion after having finished second in 2009. In 2010 she became the U.S. junior runner-up. 

After high school, Mensah-Stock attended Wayland Baptist University. As a student wrestler, she became WCWA (Women's Collegiate Wrestling Association) Nationals Champion in 2014 and 2017. She also took third place in the 2013 U.S. Universities Championship and first place in 2015.

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