One of the beautiful things about sport is raw emotion. Perhaps more than in any other area, athletes in the heat of the moment, endorphins afloat, let loose.
After wrestler Tamyra Mensah-Stock won the women’s 150-pound freestyle competition at the Tokyo Olympics, she formed a heart sign with her hands and showed it on both sides of the arena. Then she cried.
Subsequently, Mensah-Stock explained that the gesture was a tribute to those close to him: his father, who died in a car accident after leaving one of his tournaments in high school, which almost made him stop wrestling. ; an uncle who died of cancer; a grandfather who also died of cancer; a deceased friend who also struggled; her husband; his mother; his aunt; his sister; and his country.
âI try to send love to everyone,â she said.
Mensah-Stock, the first black woman to win an Olympic gold in wrestling, spoke with a seriousness and thoughtfulness that it was hard to forget. She checked the names of the black wrestlers who came before her. She explained how she was going to use most of her $ 37,500 bonus to fulfill her mother’s dream of starting a food truck business. She said young women can be strong, silly, tough and fun, and can struggle.
âLook at that natural hair,â she said. “Come on man! I made sure to take out my puffballs so they know you can do that too.
And Mensah-Stock thanks his opponent, Blessing Oborududu from Nigeria.
âOh my God, watch us represent it,â she said. “And I think to myself if one of us wins, we make history.”
She later added, âIt’s fantastic. It meant a lot. I am so proud of Blessing. I looked at her, ‘Dang, she’s killing him.’ But I can kill him too.
– James Wagner