Athletes who are super patriotic and grateful to God?! What an interesting and refreshing concept! Well, it’s not like they don’t exist, but we are so used to the Megan Rapinoes and Gwen Berrys of the world hogging the sports spotlight with their anti-American antics that the minute we find one thanking God and praising the USA after a victory, we are overjoyed.
Female Olympic Wrestler Tamyra Mensah-Stock found instant internet fame after “winning gold in the women's 68-kilogram freestyle final,” not only because of her fantastic victory, but also because her response to the news of her victory made for one of the most heartwarming, humble, and patriotic post match interviews in recent memory.
After beating Nigerian wrestler Blessing Oborududu 4-1 to win the gold medal for the United States, Mensah-Stock wrapped herself in the American flag and beamed with pride as she spoke to reporters who wanted to know what she was feeling in that moment of victory.
In the already viral video (it’s gotten past 1 million views on the same day it was posted), the champion appeared to be caught between tears of joy and crazed laughter over winning. She was almost unable to speak because of her excitement. In response to a question as to whether the athlete surprised herself with her victory, she exclaimed, “Of course, I surprised myself, it’s by the grace of God that I’m even able to move my feet.”
Right there seems to be more humility than we’ve come to expect from our athletes lately.
Mensah-Stock’s joy was infectious to say the least. She continued, wide-eyed, saying her victory was all thanks to God: “I just leave it in His hands and I pray that all the practice – that the hell that my freakin’ coaches put me through – pays off. And every single time it does!”
There’s that Olympian drive and focus we’ve been waiting for. She kept going, saying, “and I get better and better and it’s so weird that there’s no cap to the limit that I can do, and I’m excited to see what I have next.” None of the wrestling champion’s confident speech came off as arrogant. It was just an earnest, almost innocent, belief in herself that with God and her coaches' help she could rise to any occasion.
Then the reporter tee’d Mensah-Stock up for a patriotic home run, stating, “that American flag around your shoulders looks pretty good. How does that feel to represent your country like this?” Grasping the flag, the gold medal-winner responded, “It feels amazing! I love representing the U.S.. I freaking love living there. I love it and I’m so happy I get to represent U.S.A.!”
Wow! How’s that for a U.S. athlete? Mensah-Stock is clearly the best of the best at her sport and also a real class act off the mat. We need more of these athletes in the spotlight in the future.